updated 08:30 am EDT, Mon October 22, 2007
Napster Mobile at ATT
AT&T on Monday announced that it would launch Napster Mobile, the company's first copy-protected digital music service. The extension brings access to the same catalog as the PC-oriented store and, while costing twice as much per track at $2 each, allows users to download the same song twice; a song already loaded on the PC can be downloaded through EDGE or HSPA to the phone rather than having to copy from one device to the other, AT&T says. A Five-Track Pack for $7.50 per month will offer the same features at a relative discount.
The service is expected to launch with AT&T in mid-November and will require a cellphone that can play back protected Windows Media files. An accompanying MobiVJ music video streaming service is available now for 3G phones and costs $7 per month; a VIP access program is due in early November and provides fans a way to find or follow music.
The addition represents the second major music store directly linked to the American carrier's network, which recently saw the introduction of the MP3-based eMusic Mobile. Apple's iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store does not transfer over the cellular network and runs independently from AT&T's officially sanctioned services.
AT&T has not commented on how it intends to reconcile the three store outlets, which contrast sharply with the single online stores available on Sprint and Verizon phones.