BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Business
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Market Data 
Your Money 
Business Basics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Friday, 2 March, 2001, 07:06 GMT
Half of Napster fans would pay fees
napster graphic
Napster clones under attack
The latest survey reveals that Napster is the 13th most popular website in Europe, and that half of all users would willingly pay for its services.

Napster was sued by a collection of record companies for illegally reproducing copyright material, and branded a pirate operation.

But the firm has launched an appeal, outlining a compromise whereby a fee-demanding service would result in the record firms receiving a cut of revenues.

The statistics heralding Napster's popularity come on the same day as a US judge is scheduled to hear legal arguments before issuing an injunction to ban Napster once and for all.

Spanish enthusiasts

The pan-European survey, conducted by internet researchers Jupiter MMXI, found that Napster was best used in Spain and Italy, but also very popular in Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, France and the UK.

Listeners are overwhelmingly male, and split almost evenly between those under 24 years of age, and those above 24.

It is this older group of wealthier people who are likely to consider paying for Napster's services.

But the younger age group, who are also the heaviest music consumers, shy away from the idea of paying up.

Youth retention

"Attracting and retaining young people now is crucial for the survival of services like Napster, who need to build strong brand loyalty," concluded Jupiter MMXI.

The research firm also suggests that Napster should continue to offer a free service, with only lower quality audio, limited content and advertising.

Jupiter MMXI says that if Napster loses its pending court decision, then European Napster users will inevitably be sent to alternative European sites which it describes as "grey".

But the world's two biggest record companies, Sony and Vivendi Universal, are pressing ahead with plans to launch their own online service which could plug the gap for consumers.

PC users
An injunction would effectively shut down Napster

In an attempt to stave off closure, Napster has asked a full federal appeals court to review a three-judge decision that held the company liable for copyright infringement and that an injunction was not only warranted but required.

Napster argues the injunction against the company is too broad and violated its rights to free speech.

If the appeals court grants Napster's request for a full hearing before all of its judges, it might buy the song-swap service some more time.

Napster was first sued in December 1999, and called a haven for piracy that was costing the legal industry billions of dollars in lost music.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
See also:

23 Feb 01 | Business
Music firms rival Napster
21 Feb 01 | Business
Music firms dismiss Napster deal
21 Feb 01 | Americas
Napster seeks $1bn record deal
13 Feb 01 | Americas
Musicians celebrate Napster ruling
12 Feb 01 | Business
Court blow to Napster
02 Mar 01 | Business
Crunch day for Napster
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories