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Napster Launches DRM-Free Music Store

All Napster downloads in the U.S. will now be in MP3 format, allowing them to be played on pretty much any MP3 player including the iPod and iPhone and they can also be burned to CDs or transferred to other devices.

Napster is the first music subscription service featuring major label content to offer 100% of its catalogue in the MP3 format. The announcement follows similar endeavours from the likes of Amazon.com, with which Napster will compete directly.

At present 95 percent of the Napster catalogue is encoded at 256Kbps, which is reasonable quality for an MP3 track. Additionally, each track also comes with high-resolution album art.

The news is great for Napster fans, however the Napter MP3 store is currently only available to residents in the US.

"Music fans have spoken and it’s clear they need the convenience, ease of use and broad interoperability of the DRM-free MP3 format, and they want to be able to find both major label artists and independent music all in one place. Napster is delighted to deliver all of this and more with the world’s largest MP3 catalog," said Napster’s Chairman and CEO Chris Gorog.

"Our new MP3 store, together with our award-winning ’all you can eat’ music subscription service, provides the most comprehensive and exciting music experience available. Virtually any portable device in the world can now be used to enjoy tracks purchased at Napster, which is an important breakthrough for our company."