Monday, February 21

Napster needs iPod so bad

Napster has announced its new 'fightback' subscription model - 2 week trial, USD15 a month, and unlimited downloads. They're making as big a splash about it as they can afford, reportedly including a Superbowl TV spot. Oh, that takes me back! Remember when all you had to do to raise VC funding for a new Internet company was to book a Superbowl ad?

The company's "Do The Math" campaign shows that you can get 10,000 songs a month for your $15, and that it'd cost you $10,000 to get that on iTunes. Right, but if I only want one new album a month from Napster (my usual consumption) that's expensive, isn't it?...

Michael Walsh is right when he says it's only going to make sense to people who always want to download hundreds of new tunes every month, otherwise you're better off paying $.99 a song on iTunes Store (in countries where you can use iTunes Store, that is, not Australia.)

The bigger challenge for Napster is it's still locked-out of the iPod. Napster could be offering you unlimited songs for $2 a month and still it's #1 customer support question would be, "why can't I get my songs onto my iPod?" Talk about World's Biggest Barrier to Adoption.

Every month that Apple defends and extends its lead in portable music players, it gets more and more unassailable in the online music downloads market too. If I were Napster's backers I'd be thinking not about whether to fund Napster, but about how to broker a peace with Apple and get into iTunes Store. And if peace doesn't work, mount an anti-trust suit.

Buy content through ScooptWords