updated 08:10 am EDT, Mon May 18, 2009
Napster 5 Track Stream
Napster this morning tried an alternative to its struggling unlimited and per-track download services by offering an especially low-cost plan. The new plan limits unlimited access to streaming through the web but gives users five MP3 songs to keep each month; in return, subscribers pay just $5 per month. Napster continues to give access to radio stations and playlists and sees the new plan as a way of letting users explore music in a platform-independent way for those who prefer singles instead of whole albums.
US residents get access to the plan today; international releases haven't been detailed.
The option is just a fraction of the $10 regular and $15 Napster To Go plans and is likely a concession to the current marketplace. Both of the more expensive plans offer unlimited downloads but only in a copy-protected Windows Media format, whose incompatibility with iPhones and iPods has given users few incentives to adopt Napster's subscription service. Per track sales continue to depend on MP3s.