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Napster, Tower Records Unveil Subscription-based Music Distribution Service.

Tokyo, Japan, Oct 3, 2006 - (JCN) - Tower Records Japan Inc. and Napster Japan, Inc. today unveiled a new digital music service for users in Japan. The subscription-based service - the first of its kind in Japan - offers unlimited access to over 1.5 million songs starting at 1,280 yen per month. It is set to launch tonight at 10 PM JST.

The new service comes in two varieties: Napster Basic, which provides unlimited downloads to up to three computers for 1,280 yen per month, and Napster To Go, which expands on the basic service to include downloads to the same number of portable music players and mobile phones for 1,980 per month. Also available is Napster a la carte, a pay-as-you-download service through which users can purchase individual songs or albums and burn purchased music to CD.

Napster's research has shown that subscribers to the unlimited access service purchase more music than consumers who buy songs or albums individually, making the tie-up with Tower Records, one of Japan's most successful music sellers, a logical choice. The joint venture with Tower represents a first for the Company, which previously moved into Canada, Germany and the UK without the assistance a local partner.

The music service is compatible with Windows Media Player 7.1 for Windows 2000 and XP, and portable music players running Windows Media DRM 10, which manages copyright protection. Japanese companies offering compatible players currently include Creative Media, iriver, Toshiba and Victor/ JVC.

In addition, as a part of the capital alliance between Tower and NTT DoCoMo established in November 2005, NTT DoCoMo has made the new service available on its F902iS mobile phone. "Japanese consumers are tastemakers, trendsetters for consumers around the world," said Napster LLC President Brad Duea. "This is particularly true of consumer electronics and mobile phones. Knowing how much Japanese consumers love their mobiles, we see mobile music as a model that will be adopted around the world." Music-enabled mobile phones made up 10% of worldwide the 823 million mobile phones sold last year.

When asked how Mac users might take advantage of the service, which is not compatible with the popular brand of computers and iPod music players, Paul Greenberg, co-COO of Napster Japan said, "Well, they could switch." However, with Apple's plan to transition all of its Macs to using Intel microprocessors by the end of 2007, which is expected to allow them to run both Mac and Windows applications, users should also be able to take advantage of Napster's service.

Although its library of Japanese music is still quite limited, Napster Japan plans to expand on existing ties with over 270 record companies including Sony Music Network, Toshiba EMI, Victor Entertainment, BMG Japan and Warner Music Japan to add one million songs over the next six months. Going forward, Napster Japan aims to register one million subscribers in three years.

For more information, please visit www.napster.jp (Japanese only)

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Publication:JCNN News Summaries
Date:Oct 3, 2006
Words:500
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