Napster.com may disappoint many of the "old-school" Napster fans in it's rebirth from the legal troubles which plagued in during it's "hey-day". However, Roxio has done a fairly good job with the Napster name by providing downloadable Windows Media Audio (WMA) files to the public without requiring costly monthly fees or subscriptions. Unfortunately; like most Pay-to-Play services today- they have to provide some type of content protection (DRM) to keep their downloads legal and keep the RIAA off their back.
With this service; you pay to download WMA files to your computer which can then be played or burned to AudioCD using Microsoft's Media player. Each Download costs cost $0.99 per track. Pick and choose which tracks you want from a CD or if you desire purchase the entire CDs for $9.95. Napster claims to have over 500,000 songs available. Their large selection comes from all 5 major labels; but there are some missing artists. This site does not need a free trial and provides 30 second samples of the tracks available for purchase.
Hint: Unprotect Napster.com's WMA files using this Tutorial.
Napster 2.0 gets 6 out of 10 stars for their current offering.
- No monthly service contract.
- Files exist on your computer; not their server.
- WMA files which can be burned onto AudioCD.
|Criteria||Sub Criteria||Specifics||Score||Total Possible score||Notes:|
|Open / Standard Format||0.3||0.5||Copy Prot|
|Digital Rights||0.25||0.5||Ideally, no|
|Default format supported by CDMaster32||0||1||WMA isn't|
|Audio CD Format||0.5||0.5|
|Portable non-CD Devices||0.2||0.25||Some sup|
|Up-front Costs or Per Month||0.5||0.5|
|Number of Plans||0.15||0.25|
|Type of Plan||0.25||0.25||No upfront|
|Cost To Download||0.1||0.5||Tracks co|
|none / on server||0|
|Available Players for Downloads||0.25||0.5|
|Supplied / Proprietary||0|
|Burn||Cost To Burn Audio CDs||0.5||1|
|Full Access < 7days||0.5|
|Full Access > 7days||1|
|Number of Labels||0.25||0.5|
|5 major||0.25||0.25||Napster cl|
|Selection of Songs||0.75||1|
|Most Popular||0.75||0.75||Napster cl|
|All Files have Same rights||0.5||0.5||All tracks|
|Varies by Plan||0.25|
|Varies per Track||0.12|
|Listen only / No rights||0|
|Free / Open Search||0.06||0.1||Looses poi|
|Detailed Artist / Song Info||0.06||0.1||Provides li|
|Cross Reference Similar Artist / Music||0.18||0.2||CrossRefe|
|Web Based Browsing||0.5|
|Proprietary Application||0.25||0.25||Service re|