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|I Am Skooter|
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Napster, the subscription music-download service, is looking for a buyer. The company, which got its start as a free music-download, file-sharing site, said Monday that it had hired UBS to find a major strategic partner or to be acquired completely.
The possible sale is the latest sign of the pressure facing music-download sites, many of which are forming alliances with makers of music-playing consumer electronics devices.
Does this mean that investors are starting to make sense?
Napster was the original P2P network — the one that started the trend of stealing tunes. It had huge awareness, but because it was a central network it failed. Think of Napster as the hube at the middle of an infinite number of spokes. That single hub made it easy to take down.
With a huge brand name, it got bought and attempts were made to turn it into a pay service based on a subscription model. The argument went something like this: 10,000 songs on your iPod from Apple would cost $10,000 — why not subscribe for a low fee every month instead?
Never quite really taking off for a few reasons (I think they failed to recognize that making it a subscription meant I had to pay every month, wherease there can be entire months where I don’t buy any music) it’s now up for sale.
Is anybody going to buy this? Probably not. I hope not. If they do, it will be a bad sign — with Microsoft’s recent Zune announcement, no one without pockets as deep as Bill Gates or Steve Jobs should launch right now. It’s a faltering industry that’s just gone through its first major correction.