Napster To Go’s Gottcha!

You may have seen Napster’s “Do the math” ads during the Super Bowl touting the benefits of their subscription based music service. Make sure you know what you are getting.

The ads said “You can fill and refill any Napster To Go-compatible players for about the price of a CD a month.”

When you go to Napster make sure you read the footnote and you see the kicker:

* It is necessary to maintain a Napster subscription in order to continue access to songs downloaded through the Napster service.

If you drop your subscription, all of the music you’ve downloaded ceases to function. In other words, with a subscription service, you’re renting music, not buying it. So, for example, you could join Napster To Go tomorrow, pay $180 to maintain your subscription during the next year, and during that time, download tens of thousands of music tracks. But if you cancel your subscription next year, all of that music will stop working.

Another item to note; if you want to use your music without a DRM player, like burning it to a CD, you need to buy the songs for .99. This is in addition to your $15 a month subscription fee. At least if you quit Napster you’d get to keep the songs you actually paid the .99 for.

Sure, there is a case to made for the subscription model. You do get access to tens of thousands of songs while you maintain your subscription. But there’s no free lunch.

“Do the math” sounds more like “new math” to me.

One more thing, the Napster ads were the lowest ranked ads run during the Super Bowl. I wonder if it was the message or the delivery?

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