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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 April, 2005, 10:58 GMT 11:58 UK
Downloaders help Napster fortunes
Lindsay Lohan and Napster
Actress Lindsay Lohan at the launch of a Napster To Go cafe
Online music pioneer Napster is predicting a healthier rise in revenue due to increased subscriptions and strong music download sales.

The Los Angeles-based company said it added 153,000 new subscribers in the final three months of 2004, up 53% on the third quarter of last year.

A new service enabling the download of an unlimited amount of music has also generated interest in Napster.

Consumers do not have to pay for each song with the service.

Members who subscribe to Napster To Go, which was launched in February, have access to an extensive music catalogue of around one million tracks.

The downloaded songs can be added to digital portable music-playing equipment.

Shares soar

It is different to iTunes, which charges a small fee for each song downloaded.

The company's upward revision of its projected revenue - the second in five weeks - caused its shares to rise by almost 15% on the New York stock exchange.

The recent sales of music downloads were better than the company had expected.

Napster, along with rival Real, are thought to have one million subscribers between them in the US.

Of the current 410,000 Napster subscribers in the US, some 56,000 reside at the country's universities.

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