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  1. #1

    The new Napster kicks!!!

    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 before making any "long-term" commitments.




    Last edited by sith_killer_99; 01-17-2004 at 08:10 PM.
    May the force be with you.

  2. #2
    scruffziller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    The frozen tundra of Scandinavia
    I would like it if I can find some rare songs like from b-sides of singles that I can't even find on Kazaa or any other "free" service, which from what you said sith killer it might.
    Last edited by scruffziller; 01-18-2004 at 08:40 AM.
    No matter how I die, even if there is a suicide note; it was murder. Cheers!

  3. #3
    I think it will probably all depend on who you are looking for. I found some great stuff from Anthrax, but only one lousey track from Metallica (probably for obvious reasons). Can you say RIAA.

    I am too much of a security freak to to go with P2P. I would hate for my daughter to be the victim of some class action lawsuite because she downloaded some tunes from "The Wiggles" or "Bear in the Big Blue House".
    May the force be with you.

  4. #4
    I'm still using Kazaa with no problems! I at first thought that free downloading was over, but they redid the site, and we had to uninstall our existing version and install Kazaa again and it's working great! All the same files they had before, and no knocks on my front door! I do notice alot more pay files on Kazaa now then I did before. One thing I like about Kazaa that I know you don't get with such site like Limewire is the option to stop file sharing the songs you download, which I think is the root of all the trouble. It's not that you download the songs for free, it's that you then pass on or share the files with other people. So I choose to "stop sharing" as soon as my downloads are done. Problem is if everyone stops sharing their files then you won't be able to download any. In either case, let's just say I'm taking advantage of it while I still can!

  5. #5
    scruffziller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    The frozen tundra of Scandinavia
    I am mainly looking for rare b-sides by JAMIROQUAI. Space Clav, Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, etc. Wanna buy the box sets that have them but no major cash right now.
    No matter how I die, even if there is a suicide note; it was murder. Cheers!

  6. #6
    Well, I did it. I signed up for Napsters monthly subscription plan. It runs $9.95 a month and plays advertising free streaming music. Napster has a few options for playing music.

    1. Streaming "radio". They have specific "radio stations" that play music by genre. The term "radio station" really just means that they put together a long play list of songs. I have noticed that when I click on a "radio station" each time the songs and their sequence change. This seems to be random but specific to the genre of the music.

    2. Playlists. Build your own "radio station" based on playlists that you compile. With the full service at Napster you have access to full length songs as long as you are logged on. So while you are logged on the music is "free" (after you pay the subscription fee for the month.

    3. Custom Napster. Napster will put together a radio station based on any 3 tracks you specify from your napster library. The music will be geared towards these "types" of songs. This one probably gives you the best chance at diversity. For example you could put in: One (Metallica), Friends in low places (Garth Brooks) and Like a virgin (Madonna) and you would probably get a pretty wild list.

    4. Specific Custom Napster. Napster will put together a "radio station" that plays only music from your Napster library. Now keep in mind, the library is loosly based on tracks you have bought from Napster. However, you can import tracks to your Napster library from your current library.

    So what happens if the "radio station" plays something I don't like? Well, you can skip I just did with Dan Fogelberg...the Napster player is built like a CD player with FF and REW buttons. Though, I will admit that the player itself is a bit small.

    Other nice little Napster features are sync/restore. This option lets you log on from another computer and download all the songs from your Napster library. Though I don't know exactly what will happen if you upload a song to your Napster library and then sync it to another computer. It should load on the new machine. However, keep in mind that Napster only allows you to sync to 3 computers simultaneously(sp?).

    Forums! Yes, Napster is working hard at being a community based site. They have features like: E-mail, public forums, public profiles, buddy lists and even the ability to share playlists with other subscribers.

    Why Napster? Well, I checked out the other big sites and had major problems, difficulties or dislikes with each of them. Napster is far from perfect, but they ranked #1 with me so I decided to put my money with them.

    Rhapsody (aka ranked #1 with PC World magazine, but that was before they switched over to the lame RealPlayer format. Add to that the fact that you must give out your credit card info (even for a free trial) and these guy's smack of "AOL bank account scams"! No thank!

    iTunes is the "big apple" store! LOL They were the first big time legal music downloading service to really get up and running. They started as a MAC only operation, but quickly realized that 95% of the market is running PC's with Windows. But seriously, even though they are now compatable with Windows they still insist on using that AAC format for encoding, though they claim they still "support MP3". Whatever that is supposed to mean?!?! I decided it could easily lead to a headache when trying to burn tracks and play 'em on my car CD!

    MusicMatch came away with mixed reviews from me. They had the best goodies on bands and artists, I wish Napster had some of these people working for 'em. However, I had problems almost as soon as I loaded their software. For one thing the software came with a free "MX Gold" subscription which I never did get to work right. Then there was the problem of user interface. It just wasn't very intuative.

    On a side note, I noticed that I had some problems with my Napster account after I loaded MusicMatch on my computer. I logged on to burn some tracks from Napster and it no longer saw my CD burner!!! I couldn't burn tracks from Napster!!! Whisky Tango Foxtrot, over! I have no proof that it was caused by MusicMatch but after I uninstalled MusicMatch and performed a "go back" Napster could see my CD burner again.

    No worries, Staples was more than happy to give me a full refund for the MusicMatch garbage. I liked some of their offerings, I just really hated their software.

    So there you have it. If you are considering a legal on-line music account with any of the big name sites, I would have to recommend good 'ol Napster. The old cat learns some new tricks!

    (BTW, there are programs out there for capturing streaming audio to your hard drive)
    Last edited by sith_killer_99; 02-07-2004 at 06:58 PM.
    May the force be with you.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by sith_killer_99
    (BTW, there are programs out there for capturing streaming audio to your hard drive)
    Like "Sound Recorder" which is built into Windows 95 and above?
    Darth Vader is becoming the Mickey Mouse of Star Wars.

    Kylo Ren - came from Space Brooklyn, although he moved to Space Williamsburg before it was trendy.

    The use of a lightsaber does not make one a Jedi, it is the ability to not use it.

  8. #8
    Well, I have had a unique opportunity to try out iTunes as of late. Thanks to the special promotion from Pepsi (and Kidhuman).

    Here is some interesting info I heard on the news the other day as they were reviewing iTunes.

    Apple makes just 9 cents per song sold on iTunes, however, they make $150.00 for every iPod sold. Though the price will probably be less for the new mini iPods.

    I have downloaded apples iTunes player and interface, which, like Napster and the rest is basicly a web browser with a player built in and a search engine for checking out their vast store.

    Mac users may be more familiar with the overall layout and look of iTunes. The interface seems to have the cool, soothing look of the Mac OS...boring. LOL J/K

    Like Napster, the up side is that you don't have to give out bank account info and the like if you want to download individual songs, via the Pepsi promotion. I don't know if iTunes has any plans to release a card like Napster, but they's just smart marketing.

    I still prefer the overall look and design not to mention the ease of use with Napster over iTunes. I have heard it said that Apple has more music available than Napster, but my experience says they are about the same.

    Sound quality on iTunes is on par with Napster IMO. As well as ease of downloads, speed, etc.

    The real difference is format compatability. Let's face it WMA is just easier to work with and is more widely accepted. You can easily play on Windows Media Player, as well as most MP3 players (my MuVo dosen't recognize Apple's AAC format), not to mention DVD players and many Car CD players.

    In the end Apple has a great product with iTunes, and the iPod is very popular, I rather enjoy the free Pepsi downloads. But, WMA is the format to go with for true versatility.

    *Special thanks to Kidhuman, who has PM'd me several Pepsi iTunes codes and allowed me to really put iTunes to the test.*
    May the force be with you.


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