Naspter is one of the most recognizable names in digital music, being one of the first music distribution platforms when it was released way back in 1999. After much controversy, and changing hands several times in the last 10 years, it is now owned by the US electronics retailer Best Buy. Now, having launched the innovative Best Buy Remix, their API for Best Buy's product catalog, you can now program Napster with the Napster Access API (for technical details see our new Napster API profile).
As their API's press release notes:
The Napster API includes access to all of the Napster music service features, including: a la carte MP3 purchasing (via Web), on-demand streaming of nine million songs, radio stations, user-created playlists and Billboard charts. CE manufacturers can also offer free trial subscriptions to customers.
The API is the result of a decade spent transforming Napster, which has had more than a few run-ins with the legal system in the past. Chris Gorog, the CEO of Napster until recently, made this post in the Napster blog:
We began with a simple idea - "legalizing Napster" - and spent almost a decade trying to perfect that dream.
It wasn't always easy. We were criticized at times for "renting" music. But we thought then - and still believe quite strongly - that we had a better approach to digital music. Why buy downloads - when for a small monthly fee you can have access to - everything?
Well after a lot of years of chasing this dream of - unlimited access, anytime, anywhere - it seems to be catching on.
Thanks to our customer's support - Napster now has many hundreds of thousands of music fans that really like "renting" music and this fan base keeps growing every day. Although our customers call it streaming. Streaming from their PC. Streaming from their IP connected TV. And streaming from their smart phones (coming soon!).
Napster Access is targeting any internet capable device including the Napster TV widget for Samsung televisions with the Internet@TV feature, mobile phones, iPods, iPhones, MP3 players and web applications. Access to the service costs a few dollars a month, which gives end users unlimited streaming of music as well as the ability to permanently download a number of MP3s.