Home / News / Portable Audio News / Napster Remodels Service, Inks Dell Deal

Napster Remodels Service, Inks Dell Deal

Gordon Kelly


Napster Remodels Service, Inks Dell Deal

The name alone will always have a soft spot with techies of a certain age, but Napster is looking to move with the times as it revamps its service for a serious assault on the iTunes/Spotify fanbases...

The big news is a drastic cut in pricing with users now able to stream unlimited music from its desktop application for just £5 per month. On top of this users will also be allowed to download five DRM-free MP3s of their choice per month.

By comparison, Napster pricing prior to this was significantly more at £10 per month for unlimited streaming and £15pm to throw in DRM loaded tracks that were incompatible with a number of music players including - ouch - iPods. Interestingly, the new plan also means Napster significantly undercuts current industry darling Spotify which charges £10pm for unlimited streaming with no downloads (though it has recently added an offline desktop mode - like Napster - and the dedicated http://www.trustedreviews.com/mobile-phones/review/2009/09/15/Spotify-for-iPhone/p1iPhone and Android apps).

In related news Napster is also making progress with manufacturers having landed a surprising - but very cool - global deal with Dell to bundle 12 months of unlimited music streaming with the company's new PCs and laptops. Napster will also throw in 60 MP3s of the consumer's choice in a deal which is worth approximately £60. Smart move team.


Napster UK


October 7, 2009, 8:36 pm

Wow. Very, very interested in this. Having just ditched Napster for Spotify purely on the iPhone app basis I would seriously be tempted to swing back to Napster.

Their catalogues are very similar for my tastes so no problems there but as far as Im aware Napsters sound quality is still significantly less than Spotify's and it is something my hi fi will definately pick up on (though to be honest, my lossless files trump Spotify with ease).

Another big reason to switch back is that at present Spotify aint compatabile with Logitechs Squeezebox while Napster is. Having just spent a fortune on a new hi fi system including the squeezebox this is something that is a genuine draw.

This is one tough call!


October 7, 2009, 9:39 pm

I'm quite surprised by this, seems like a good deal. Napster has come a long way since I ditched it... can't see me ever moving away from iTunes, though, to be honest... I tend to buy the songs I like so while I streaming service would be nice I probably wouldn't subscribe for the privilege.


October 7, 2009, 9:44 pm

£5 for desktop streaming and 5 MP3s vs FREE Spotify desktop streaming and £1.45 for 5 MP3's from Amazon. Not such a great deal. If they offered an iphone/android app within that price then it has legs but otherwise doesn't cost out to me.

Geoff Richards

October 7, 2009, 9:50 pm

@Bigman - you're not comparing like with like. For ad-free desktop streaming, it's Napster £5 : £9.99 Spotify.

Clearly it still isn't for everyone, so vote with your feet. I don't have an iPhone personally, so ad-free desktop streaming for half the price seems attractive to me. But then again, it's still £60 a year versus the odd radio-style ad on free Spotify...


October 7, 2009, 11:19 pm

I got an email from Napster earlier this week telling me i would be getting 12 free downloads a month for my 9.99 fee i pay a month, so i went to have a look and you can actually get 15 free tracks a month for £5 including streaming if you pay for 3 months at a time. For me this is a no brainer as I use Napster heavily for my Sonos stuff. £5 a month for 8 million tracks streaming round my house and 15 downloads month to keep is an absolute winner for me. The only thing they need to do now if sort out an i phone app and Spotify have a bit to be concerned about.


October 8, 2009, 12:39 am

Whether you prefer Napster or Spotify, both have some job on their hands trying to get through to your general public the benefits of streaming services. Bigmans comment kind of sums up a lot of peoples perception of paid for subs based music.

Im actually considering paying for both as I genuinely listen to music that much. I find £10 a month for the Spotify app a bargain to be honest. I have already legally listened to dozens of albums in good quality and add free (and, resulting in the odd amazon physical purchase). An additional £5 a month to allow me to stream directly to my hifi anything I like again is bargain territory for me. Despite owning 500 albums or so there are still countless tunes/albums I wish to own but would have full access too.

Some might think £15 a month to be mad but for someone who loves their music hugely and knows and listens to hundreds of bands then it really is a bargain.


October 8, 2009, 2:16 pm

I think Jones has a great point. Most of the value of a streaming service is its usefulness. I use Sonos and Napster and can be up and running searching and listening to music in seconds. Its about as quick and easy as it gets, but the main issue is that at the moment the mainstream public only see music streaming as a service that you can use on your computer and thats the view they need to change by getting a cheap standalone decoder that plugs into your hifi or better still actually going in for full integration, pretty much as Netflix has in the states and what VUDU is trying desperately hard to do. Now if either of them could get some form of device integration (Hifi mainly, maybe TV's) so that the user has an easy and straight forward user experience then the value of the service goes up immensely. Napster does have some API's that I believe are fairly simple to utilise, i believe its not the same for Spotify they have a more closed wall approach. However I believe that Spotify are in talks with Sonos so hopefully that may lead to opportunities down the line for device integration.


October 8, 2009, 11:41 pm

Streaming being simply "something you do on your computer" is not only a perception but, for some consumers, a fact. For example, I spend most of my waking hours either at work, or otherwise away from home. Much of this time is spent travelling. Walking around or on public transport, I listen to music on a standalone MP3 player. Driving, my music is output from same device or USB memory. In these situations, Spotify/Napster would be no use to me. The introduction of "offline mode" is a step in the right direction, but there is no Napster or Spotify client for my smartphone so it is still of little use. There are still people out there who do not own an iPhone, Android, or any kind of smartphone. And even if we ignore the issues of mobile network coverage and speed (which are sometimes appalling), there is the fundamental problem that not everyone wants to use their phone as a music player because it uses up the battery. That leaves the option of carrying a laptop/netbook everywhere; not the most convenient solution.

For the record, I am actually a big fan of streaming. I use Spotify a LOT at home. But I would not pay a monthly fee for music which I can only access either on a computer or on a phone I don't have. While I do listen to a lot of music, I would rather spend my money on DRM-free files from eMusic, Amazon or other sources - files which I can listen to on ANY device at any time, while continuing to use my phone as a phone.

I agree with Gelding - when streaming services are properly integrated with more devices, both portable and in the home, then they will represent much better value. For now, I will continue to stream music, but I see it as being complementary to having DRM-free files, not as a replacement. Since the former is legally free (bar the occasional advert), my money will continue to be spent on the latter.

comments powered by Disqus