Posts Tagged ‘Napster’

Well, it is finally here. Apple‘s online cloud music storage is here to compete with services from Amazon and Google. Now, for $24.99 per year, Apple will scan your computer and match as many tracks as they can to their iTunes Store library. Once a track is matched it becomes available to every device that is synced with your Apple iCloud account. iTunes Match also automatically upgrades all lower quality tracks you may have to 256-Kbps quality. A pretty nice upgrade for those of  you who have really old 128-Kbps tracks from the early days of Napster and other music sharing services.

The main advantage iTunes Match has over other music cloud services right now is probably the fact that when you sign up with the service you don’t have to upload your whole music library contents to their servers. This is due to the fact that Apple has been able to sign agreements with major music labels which permits them to simply match your tracks against their own extensive music library. This saves everyone a lot of time and bandwidth when setting up and maintaining the service.

To use iTunes Match, first download the latest version of iTunes. Then, open up the Store sidebar, where you’ll find the iTunes Match feature. After paying for the service, Match will index your music and match as many tracks as it can with Apple’s library. After everything is matched, you can enable the feature on all your other iOS devices by going to the “Music” tab in the devices Settings. Slide iTunes Match to “on,” and you should be good to go. Your iOS device will begin syncing your music and playlists; and songs will download to your device as you play them.

In a move to bolster it’s market share in the online, on-demand music industry, Rhapsody has agreed to aquire Napster subscribers and certain other assets from Best Buy, which will receive a minority stake  in Rhapsody. Rhapsody President, Jon Irwin, said in a statement,

“This deal will further extend Rhapsody’s lead over our competitors in the growing on-demand music market…. There’s substantial value in bringing Napster’s subscribers and robust IP portfolio to Rhapsody as we execute on our strategy to expand our business via direct acquisition of members and distribution deals.”

A Rhapsody spokeswoman has also stated that the company plans to re-brand Napster under the Rhapsody name. So, pretty soon after the deal finalizes on November 30, 2011, Napster will cease to exist once again. Bye-bye, Napster. Bye-bye.

Rhapsody is doing this mostly to obtain Napster’s subscriber base, hoping that it will strengthen their subscription music service at a time with Apple’s iTunes dominating the music market and other music services rising like Oakland, CA’s Pandora and Sweden’s Spotify. Will this help enough to keep Rhapsody competitive and viable in the on-demand music marketplace in the coming years? We shall see.