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Monday, 5 November, 2001, 18:11 GMT
Major licensing deal for Napster
Napster
Napster pioneered person-to-person music file sharing
The Italian-owned music website Vitaminic has licensed part of its enormous digital music catalogue to US-based file swapping service Napster.

The deal will give Napster users access to 250,000 Vitaminic digital tracks as part of a planned membership-based file-sharing service.

Napster, which attracted almost 60 million users at its peak by letting them swap songs for free, is currently idle while overhauling its services.

"Vitaminic has compiled an extensive catalogue of licenses to digital music files from prominent record labels throughout Europe and the US and we're pleased to have them on board with us, " said Napster's CEO Konrad Hilbers.

Technical difficulties

In July Napster lost a long court battle against five leading players n the music industry.

A US court ordered it to bar copyright material from its selection and Napster then ran into technical difficulties in complying with the court order.

The firm is now working on a legal re-launch, which it recently said would not happen until Spring 2002.

Under this deal, Napster will pay royalties to Vitaminic, which in turn will pay each of its affiliated record labels.

Unlike Napster, Vitaminic and its newly-acquired service Peoplesound established relationships with record companies who give permission for their artists' music to be put on the sites.

"This initiative represents another way to leverage our catalogue of music and give artists and labels the opportunity to reach new fans," said Andrea Rosi of Vitaminic.

"Through Vitaminic, labels and artists have the opportunity to legally distribute and sell their music on multiple channels both on the internet and on wireless networks."

However, despite this and other deals, Napster's future still remains unclear.

Rivals have emerged and there is no clear evidence that people want to pay for music online.


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See also:

07 Jun 01 | Business
Rival knocks Napster deal
23 Jul 01 | Business
Online music sales set to soar
11 Oct 01 | New Media
Napster wins reprieve
10 Oct 01 | Business
Napster 'successors' emerge
26 Jun 01 | Business
Napster signs deal with indie labels
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