updated 08:35 am EDT, Wed July 27, 2005
to create new MP3 players that leverage satellite radio technology as well as are integrated with Napster's online music service. The new partnership will take on Apple's dominance of the online music market and challenge the market-leading iTunes/iPod ecosystem. Samsung said it would introduce its first MP3 players with XM Satellite Radio capability, including two miniature flash memory-based players that will utilize XM's Connect-and-Play technology. The players will also allow users to easily mark songs for future purchase through Napster, offering an integrated listening and purchasing experience.
Samsung said its new players will be available in two storage capacity sizes and are expected to be available by the end of the year.
The alliance will combine the capabilities of downloading digital audio music with XM Satellite Radio's line-up of commercial- free music and premier sports, news, and talk radio channels. When the players are connected to a home or car docking station, users will be able to store digital audio content available on XM. The recorded content can be played anywhere, allowing subscribers to enjoy XM programming in places where the XM signal may not be available, such as the subway. In addition, the Samsung players enable the end user to store songs from his or her personal digital music collection, including digital music files (MP3 files and .wma files) purchased from a variety of digital music services.
XM Satellite Radio allows subscribers to discover and rediscover music. Using the Samsung XM/digital audio players, XM subscribers can identify selected songs heard on the XM Satellite Radio service for purchase through the Napster music downloading service. The Samsung players also allow users to create and manage customized playlists, combining both personal digital music files and recorded XM programming.
"XM + Napster" will provide a single interface for accessing, purchasing, and managing music from XM and Napster. Napster said the service will be the exclusive, integrated service for digital music subscriptions and downloading for XM's 4.4 million-plus subscribers. The "XM + Napster" service will launch in the fourth quarter of 2005 in conjunction with the availability of new XM/MP3 players, which will offer XM subscribers the ability to listen to XM's 150-plus channels of live programming on the player, store songs in the player's memory, and mark the songs they like for future reference or online purchase. Both players will ship with an XM Radio home accessory kit, which allows the device to receive XM's 150-plus radio channels of commercial-free music, plus news, talk and entertainment programming, in the home.
When the XM/MP3 player is connected to a PC, the "XM + Napster" service will match the marked XM song titles with Napster's music catalog; available songs can be purchased individually for on-demand listening and transferred to the player. The "XM + Napster" service will also enable XM subscribers to manage their entire digital music collection in one location, allowing users to create playlists that contain music from a variety of sources.