Well, I was at Bestbuy today and saw the new "Napster card" and figured, what the heck.
The card itself is similar to the long distance phone cards that are so popular. Here is what I noticed:
The card was preset for $14.85 (good for 15 songs). I didn't see any other types (5 songs $4.95, 10 songs $9.90, 20 songs $19.80 etc). This is a bit of a drawback.
Also it only lets you download individual songs, not whole albums. Though, to their credit, Napster clearly states "15 songs for $14.85" and promises nothing else.
Whole albums are available on Napster, but the price is a fixed rate of $9.95. In other words the cost is not compatible with the cards limit. For example, if whole albums were $9.90 then you would be able to buy 1 album and 5 songs.
Napster really should fix that, if they want to keep the card technology. Here are some options they have. One, they could make empty cards that you charge at the register like many "gift cards". Two, they could do a variety of card types, ie 5 songs, 10 songs, 1 album, 2 albums, etc. The first is a bit more flexible but both have limitations.
That's why I propose that they lower their "album" cost to match the cost of 10 song purchases ($9.90). That would really add to the flexability of their cards.
The biggest advantage is that you can use these cards without having to subscribe or give out credit card info over the net.That is a big plus for internet security junkies.
Now for the really good stuff.
You have to download Napster's software to get started. But the process is fairly simple and easy enough for any rookie.
Privacy is not a problem if you are using the card, just log into an annonamous account and enter the code from your card, you will automatically be credited 15 songs.
The overall use of napster is really good. I like the overall design and most of the features. Though they are lacking in a few things, but that's just personal taste.
Previews are 30 seconds long and napster tells you exactly which CD it is from (ie live, studio, etc). Members don't have to suffer with 30 second clips, they can create playlists with full songs and listen to unlimited streaming music as they choose, but it costs $9.95 per month for a subscription. The upside is that you can log on to your account from any computer and access your own playlists at any time.
Personally, Napster hasn't convinced me to join, just yet.
The sound is fantastic!!!
Downloads are a snap!
Napster also boasts one of the largest music libraries on the internet and it's growing all the time. You can also send and e-mail to them requesting new albums for their library. Who knows if they will be able to get it, but it's worth a shot if they are missing something you really want.
I started off by looking up an old classic, Motley Crue's "Theater of Pain"...not found. Then I moved on to Black Sabbath "War Pigs" to which I found several matches from various Black Sabbath and Ozzy albums, some live some early recordings none from the original release.
After that it was smooth sailing, I even found a few songs from "Boots Randolph"....don't ask.
Radio! Napster claims to have "over 50 fully-interactive commercial-free radio stations programmed by the napster team.". What I wanna know is...Does this only apply to music stations? Can I get talk radio? Yeah, I know, it's probably not a popular feature, but I like to listen to Howard Stern and G. Gordan Liddy. LOL I didn't send an e-mail to find out.
Overall, I have enjoyed my first Napster experience. I enjoyed listening to clips from some of my former favorite bands and downloaded a dozen or so good tracks, mostly older rock/heavy metal.
I still plan on checking out listen.com before making any "long-term" commitments.