Napster gives away music players to new subscribers

Napster is giving away digital music players to new subscribers to its music download service.

U.S. customers paying in advance for a year's subscription to the Napster service, costing US$119.40, will receive a free portable music player with a 128M-byte memory, the company said.

Napster, in Los Angeles, will give new subscribers a 128M-byte Rio Chiba Sport music player while stocks last. Subscribers paying $80 more can get a 1.5G-byte Rio Nitrus player instead, the company said. It did not indicate how many players it plans to give away. The Rio players are manufactured by Digital Networks North America.

Subscribers to Napster's service can listen to songs from the company's 750,000-song catalog by streaming them over the Internet to their PC, where they can also be stored for playback as long as they remain paying subscribers. But if they want to copy the music to the free portable music player to listen to it away from their PC, they'll have to pay an additional $0.99 per song, or $9.95 per album, to buy the music outright, according to the company's Web site.

In January, Napster added support for around 60 music players, including the Rio range, to its music management software. The software update allows users to drag and drop music tracks from the Napster application directly onto a compatible music player connected to their PC with a USB (Universal Serial Bus) cable.

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