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Monday, 29 October, 2001, 12:05 GMT
File-swapping 'halves' in Europe
Napster's website AP
Napster: Still the primary net music service
The number of internet users sharing music files has halved in Europe since Napster ran into legal problems earlier this year, research suggests.

But Napster remains Europe's most popular music destination on the internet, internet research analysts Jupiter MMXI found.

Although 4.5 million Europeans still regularly swap files via the net, none of Napster's many new competitors have equalled it in reach or popularity, according to Jupiter's monthly bulletin.


Consumers expect music to be free on the web

Mark Mulligan, Jupiter MMXI
Napster was used by 4.7% of Europe's 60 million internet users during August 2001 - ahead of Audiogalaxy (3%) and Musiccity Morpheus (2.2%), the research found.

The two most popular "legitimate" music sites - which control their content rather than allow users to share files peer-to-peer - were further behind.

Lawsuits

Netbroadcaster has a reach of 1.7% and MP3.com has a reach of 1.5%.

The research, Jupiter says, suggests that since Napster's file-swapping service was suspended after lawsuits from the music majors, the file-swapping market has diminished and fragmented.

In February of this year 12 peer-to-peer services shared a combined audience reach of 16% in Europe - but by August 2001 17 sites had a combined reach of just 7.6%.

Napster's relative popularity is all the more remarkable since it now only offers a limited number of authorised downloads.

The service had more than 25 million users worldwide in February, when its peer-to-peer service was operational.

'Fragmented'

Jupiter analyst Mark Mulligan said: "The strength of Napster is testament to the popularity of sharing music over the Internet, but also to the fact that consumers expect music to be free on the web.

"The latest generation of Napster clones presents the record industry with the challenge of a fragmented, grey market but poses less of a threat than the original Napster phenomenon."

  • On Friday Napster said that it had received another cash infusion from its owner, the German media giant Bertelsmann AG.

    It was reported that Bertlesmann contributed a further $26m (18m) to the troubled music service.

    The parent company has already had to help Napster pay off September's $26m settlement with music creators and copyright owners regarding damages for past, unauthorized uses of music.

    Last week Napster also announced that it would be cutting about 16 of its 104 jobs as part of a package of cost-cutting measures.

  • See also:

    10 Oct 01 | Business
    Napster 'successors' emerge
    25 Oct 01 | New Media
    Napster cuts jobs to survive
    12 Jun 01 | Business
    EU opens online music probe
    20 Jul 01 | Business
    Napster use slumps 65%
    06 Jun 01 | Business
    Victory for music giants?
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