October 10, 2003, 12:00 AM

The resurrection of Napster--as a legitimate service

Napster, which occupied the center of a storm over unauthorized music file-swapping, is going legit. Roxio, which acquired Napster last year, started a beta test of paid music downloads this week, and plans to roll the service out Oct. 29.

Napster, which occupied the center of a storm over unauthorized music file-swapping, is going legit. Roxio Inc., which acquired the wreckage of Napster last year, started a beta test of paid music downloads this week, and plans to roll the service out on Oct. 29.

The new service will offer 99-cent song downloads to PCs from its digital music library, which Napster claims is the biggest in the world, of over 500,000 songs. It will charge $9.95 for an album. Napster 2.0 will also allow consumers to move music from a PC to digital audio devices. Napster is encouraging music fans to pre-register for the service immediately by offering five free downloads when the service launches.

"Napster invented online music and we are reinventing it with Napster 2.0," said Chris Gorog, chairman and CEO of Roxio. "Napster 2.0 is unequivocally the most complete and comprehensive music service in the world."

Music fans can also subscribe to Napster`s premium service for $9.95 a month and receive unlimited listening and downloading, 40 commercial-free interactive radio stations and a collection of community features, including the ability to email tracks to friends and share play lists with other Napster users.

Napster is also creating myriad other community-style features that it will offer at no charge, including watching music videos on-demand, listening to 30-second music clips, browsing decades of Billboard charts, reading Napster`s new online magazine, "Fuzz," and offering a music-recommendation engine.

Napster’s founder Shawn Fanning endorsed the new version in a press release from Roxio: "I`ve used Napster 2.0 and it`s really great," he said.

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