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Napster to drop DRM, switch to MP3s

updated 10:25 am EST, Mon January 7, 2008

Napster to switch to MP3s

Online music service Napster, which has for some time only sold tracks in a protected Windows Media Audio format, will soon begin selling music in the form of unprotected MP3s, according to Reuters. Starting in the second quarter of 2008, at least a portion of the files sold or offered via subscription will be unprotected, in what may perhaps be the most significant such announcement since Amazon's digital store launch. Napster claims to have some 750,000 subscribers, who make use of both plans and permanent downloads.

A number of music publishers have been slowly moving away from DRM safeguards, as customers have long complained that DRM prevents them from using the music players they want, or even backing up and transferring media for personal use. The largest holdouts at present are Yahoo and Apple, the latter of which is the biggest digital music vendor, but which sells much of its music in an exclusive AAC format. Even Apple, however, sells a number of DRM-free tracks through its iTunes Plus service.

by MacNN Staff





  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Now offer it all for free, and it'll be like 2000 all over again!

  1. JackWebb

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Who's the guy in the pict

    Is that Bill Leeb?

    Napster's subscription service is still plain awful. They are prolonging their death by a day or two with this move.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Why aren't they moving forward with a more modern format? Maybe they could offer the older, less effective, mp3 format as an option?

    mp3 is so 1980s.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re: mp3?

    They could move forward, but anything else is taking a leap of faith, as almost all music players can play MP3, but other formats are all hit or miss.

  1. andrewtj

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Apple a DRM holdout? ROFL

    Whoever wrote this article doesn't know the difference between DRM and AAC. Apple started the move AWAY from DRM with Jobs' open letter. AAC is the format that Apple uses for its store - a format that is arguably even more open than MP3. WMA, on the other hand, is strictly proprietary.

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