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Napster offers free portable player with 1 year service

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Thinking about buying a portable MP3 player for the summer? If so, then you’ll likely spend a hundred dollars for one and Napster is offering a pretty good deal that is worth checking into:

On its Web site, Napster said it would give consumers a Rio Chiba Sport portable music device, valued at about $130, if they sign up for the subscription, which is valued at $119.40. The device features 128MB of storage capacity and includes a stopwatch, sports headphones and an armband.
This is a limited time offer while supplies last, so it is advisable to check this out sooner rather than later for those interested. Yes, I know it’s not a high end MP3 player, but they offer for an additional $80 a beefier player.

I reviewed the Napster service [screenshots] at Blogcritics last year and at the time I was a paid subscriber but then I cancelled after a couple months and used Rhapsody instead. The ability to download music locally and play instead of only streaming lured me back as a member a couple months ago.

Rhapsody still has a better selection of the music I like (70s, 80s rock) but Napster has improved since October in overall selection. I recommend giving this offer a serious look, especially considering that soon you will be able to move this rented music to portable devices for no additional charge (at least that’s what I’m reading anyway). So this means one could literally tap a library of over a half million songs and move their favorites to their portable all for the price of $9.99 a month.

The legal online music detractors will point out that this is a bad thing because you don’t own the music, you are renting it, the quality isn’t as high, etc., but if you use this to preview new CDs then you will reduce your disappointing CD purchases. With some new CDs costing in excess of $15 USD, it only takes one bad purchase a month to make this service worthwhile. Also, for musical exploration the sky is the limit as you’ll find more and more artists being added. It is rumored that The Beatles might be putting their library in the mix which will definitely make online music more attractive. The Rolling Stones were added not too long ago which was very cool. Expect almost all artists to be in the game within the next 12-24 months.

Also the recent popular Velvet Revolver CD which is controversially copy protected can be downloaded locally via Napster subscription and played without buying the tracks or album separately.

If you want to sample a free tune then Sony Connect service is offering a free song with each Big Mac meal. I think we’ll see more and more of these cross promotions using free tracks as bait. How about theaters getting into the act? Buy two tickets to Spider-Man 2, a bucket of popcorn and get 2 free tracks from ___. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this kind of marketing, would you?

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About TDavid

  • I’ve looked at Napster a few times since they reappeared. It took me several queries before I found anything I might possibly want, and even then I couldn’t find all the tracks of the albums I was interested in. It seems that their catalog might be targeting Debbie the 14 year old girl.

  • In the beginning it was that way, Dave, but it has gotten better. You didn’t mention any specific artists so not sure what type music you were searching for. Clearly some types of music their selection is not as good as others.

    As I said in the piece, Rhapsody still has a superior selection, but only Napster allows local downloading and portable sharing (if you have the right device with Janus technology) without requiring subscribers to buy the tracks at 99 cents a piece. Rhapsody and iTunes don’t allow that.

    Also, Napster still has that annoying “buy only” option which I spoke in depth about in the original review last October.

  • Dave

    Well, encouraged by your reply I figured I’d take another look: a search for “bruford” brings up no Bill Bruford, but plenty of Barbra Mandrell and Barbra Streisand selections from which to choose. They have nothing by Anthony Phillips.

    A search for “rypdal” brings up nothing by Terje Rypdal, but offers “Nordics vs. Reptilians”, so at least they’re getting the country right this time.
    A search for “towner” brings up no Ralph Towner. Amazingly, a search for “zappa” brings up a few albums that appear at first glance to be complete or mostly complete albums, though only a few. They carry Miles Davis’ “Complete Jack Johnson” but are missing 6 of the 42 tracks. It’s not as bad as it was the last time I looked at it.

  • RC

    Is napster still offfering this?