Napster back. Again.

By Jon Newton 5/21/03

Roxio has confirmed that it's bought Pressplay, one of the two music industry wannabe-Napster disasters, from Sony Music Entertainment and Vivendi's Universal Music Group.

Who's going to snap up the other - MusicNet?

One wonders. heh

Be that as it may, last year, of course, Roxi bought Napster for a trifling $5m and now says:

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"As a result of this transaction, Roxio has acquired a legal digital music distribution infrastructure and catalog rights with all five major music labels.

"Pressplay will serve as the foundation for the launch of Roxio's new legal on line music service under the Napster brand."

But don't think the Sony and UMG are out of the picture.

"UMG and SME will each provide a representative to join Roxio's board of directors," says Roxio. "Pressplay's president, Mike Bebel, will report directly to Chris Gorog [Roxio's chairman and ceo], and Pressplay's senior management team and its offices in Los Angeles and New York will remain in place."

And Gorog spelled it out. "With our acquisition of Pressplay," he says, " we have the most complete and scaleable legal technology infrastructure to use as a platform to re-launch Napster.

"After taking the necessary time to add features, enhance functionality and improve usability we will launch a new service with an extremely compelling consumer experience that builds on the qualities of the Napster brand."

In other words, the New Napster is gonna cost you. And will the added features include ways to suck up all your personal details so they can be processed and passed on to the many and various New Napster associates, not to speak of the labels?

Only The Shadow knows.

And in the meanwhile, by an amazing coincidence, last month RealNetworks bought mini-rival but swears it won't give up MusicNet.

Comments or thoughts? Email us here.

Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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