News: "Napster reports 270,000 subscribers to its pay music service
LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Online music-swapping pioneer Napster reported having some 270,000 subscribers to its fee-based music service as of late 2004, after just over a year in operation.
Napster said the figure, which represents a 50 percent increase in subscribers from the previous quarter, 'makes Napster the fastest-growing music subscription service in the industry.'
The firm began trading on the New York Stock Exchange last week.
'These results, combined with industry analysts' projections, continue to support our belief that the future of digital music is subscription services,' the company said, adding: 'We expect to continue to drive very substantial subscriber growth in 2005.'
Still, the new company is a far cry from the old Napster, which had as many as 70 million members freely trading music files and pioneering the effort to use the Internet as a music service.
The old Napster was forced into bankruptcy in 2001 after a series of lawsuits by the music industry accusing the site of being a hub for exchanging copyright-protected music.
Music software maker Roxio acquired Napster's name and assets in 2002 for five million dollars in cash plus stock, and converted it into a fee-based website that allows subscribers to legally download music files.
Subsequently, Roxio sold off its software division and decided to concentrate on online music, changing the company's name to Napster. "
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