For many Napster users, the change may hardly have been noticed. Tucked in the upper right-hand corner of Napster”s most recent software download is a small, blue link that reads, “Shop for music at CDNOW.”

Despite its small icon, the link is a tiding of the full-scale effort to change Napster from a free service to a profitable business venture, and is the first tangible sign of change since Napster entered into a partership with German-owned Bertelsmann AG in October.

Bertelsmann, the owner of the major record label BMG Entertainment, will aid Napster in generating profits from its mp3 file-sharing software.

Although the launch date for the membership-based service was initially slated for summer, that date is now uncertain.

“We”re keeping things on schedule,” said Melinda Meals, a Bertelsmann representative. “Talks are ongoing with all the major labels.”

The company aims to entice other labels into offering their music libraries to the Napster service while also attempting to convince the music industry that Napster has had a positive effect on record sales.

As evidence, the company points to recent research done by Jupiter Media Metrix, a new economy research firm, that suggests Napster users are 45 percent more likely to increase their spending on music than non-Napster users.

Students, meanwhile, remain tentatively skeptical of Napster”s attempt to become a fee-based service.

“I think the first thing I”ll do is to see how the other sites are,” said LSA sophomore Minh-Son Bui. “Assuming

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.