Searching for Revenue, Napster Signs Promo Deal

The promotion on the home page will feature a click-through link to Sputnik7.com, whose chairman is music business pioneer and Palm founder Chris Blackwell. Palm is a major shareholder of Sputnik7, which will provide an MP3 file format version of Sundown which Napster users can share.

The Napster site is designed to let users share music files among themselves, and counts more than 21 million users, with about a million more signing up each week, according to Barry. But Napster is in the throes of fending off copyright violation charges filed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which represents the major music labels, as well as the heavy-metal band Metallica and rapper Dr. Dre.

Napster claims it does not violate copyright laws and Barry said here that its mission is to "expose music fans to music they have not been exposed to and show them ... where to find music they haven't heard in a long time."

The deal with Sputnik7 does not call for any money to change hands, Blackwell and Barry said. But amid its legal throes, the deal could count as a vote of support from a legendary music business figure. Blackwell, who produced leading Jamaican musicians while at Island Records, said that since the advent of the MP3 file downloading phenomenon on the Internet, sales of Jamaican music great Bob Marley's back catalog have actually risen by about 12 percent in the past year or two, after years of remaining flat. "So I don't know if this is a result of Napster, but certainly it hasn't hurt," Blackwell said.

Despite its millions of users, Napster has no revenue. Asked during a panel session whether he had ideas for how Napster could generate money, Barry quipped, "Yes, lots of ideas ... I'm sure everyone in the audience has ideas of how Napster can generate revenue too."

The promotional deal with Sputnik7 may be one of the first music label-blessed initiatives that Napster is doing, but Barry said that Napster is pursuing various ideas for how to expand and complement what it does now. For example, he said, it has retained the consulting services of Liquid Audio to study the different ways MP3 files can be used online.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Marc Ferranti

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?