Napster, the now completely legit online music service, has proved true to its CES announcement in January and launched a DRM-free music store.
Billed as the ‘world’s largest online music store without DRM’, the site has over 6 million tracks, all of which have been encoded to MP3. That’s right, MP3. Not WMA. Not AAC. This means that unlike iTunes, the music content can be played on ANY MP3 player and transferred to CD, mobile phone, USB stick, and shared however you want.
As of today, Napster’s site offers a version 4.5 upgrade of its software that houses the non-DRM content. All four of the major music labels (Warner, Sony BMG, EMI and Universal) and a raft of independents have signed on to the store.
Each track will cost users 99 cents (around 52p) and are encoded as 256Kbps, which makes for more-than reasonable sound and the relevant album art will come with each tune.
Speaking about the announcement, Napster's Chairman and CEO Chris Gorog, said: "Music fans have spoken and it’s clear they need the convenience, ease of use and broad interoperability of the DRM-free MP3 format, and they want to be able to find both major label artists and independent music all in one place. Napster is delighted to deliver all of this and more with the world’s largest MP3 catalogue."