Best Buy to Lay out $121mm for Napster

Before you ask, yes Napster does indeed still exist. What’s more, with a current subscriber base of around 700,000 it’s still a pretty respectable offering. Napster’s current incarnation offers three main plans for accessing its library of over six million songs; the first is an iTunes-like music download service that provides a la carte tracks for 99¢ and album downloads for $6.95 and up. A basic subscription service allows users to pay $12.95 per month for unlimited streaming to any PC and download access (up to three PCs) to the full Napster library, though you’ll need to purchase tracks before they can be transferred to a portable device or burned to a CD. Finally, Napster To Go rings up at $14.95 per month and adds unlimited transfers to any compatible portable device. Napster To Go subscribers still must purchase tracks before they can burn them to a CD. So now that you’re up to date on Shawn Fanning’s storied brainchild, get ready to watch it go corporate. Best Buy has announced that it will shell out $121 million to acquire the nearly-forgotten game-changer and the current management team will stay on to run the show. The boys from Metallica must be rolling over in their graves. Oh wait, apparently they’re still alive too! Live and learn. Congrats to the Napster team – we wonder how long it will be before Napster cards replace all of those iTunes gift cards currently dangling around Best Buy registers.

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