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"Napster's platform has been tested by millions of music fans and the Napster technology is trusted as dependable and easy to use."
——Andreas Schmidt, BeCG President/CEO

BeCG CLIMBS ON NAPSTER PLATFORM

Former Swappery's "Secure" Tech To Underpin BeMusic Offerings

Bertelsmann eCommerce Group (BeCG) has announced a pact with Napster to incorporate the netco's "secure" technology—but not the file-swapping ability that drew tens of millions of users.

Instead, Napster tech will form the core for an array of BeMusic offerings, including e-tailer CDNOW, music club BMG Direct and online locker service myplay. With Bertie's past support of Napster, such a move is hardly a surprise, and parallels recent developments within Vivendi Universal-acquired MP3.com (see story, 10/19). The developing story, of course, is the effort to combine these online holdings into a cohesive whole—and BeCG clearly views Napster as a consumer-tested bedrock for such an effort.

"Napster's platform has been tested by millions of music fans and the Napster technology is trusted as dependable and easy to use," proclaimed BeCG President/CEO Andreas Schmidt. "The new secure version of the technology has incorporated feedback from the Napster community as well as the rights holders. BeMusic will use the platform to build an easy-to-use, new service that offers the best in e-commerce, subscription services and club memberships, driving future sales and encouraging the adoption of secure digital music delivery."

Added Napster chieftain Konrad Hilbers, "Napster is pleased that BeCG has licensed Napster's technology for their BeMusic service and we look forward to the added distribution that this partnership affords us." He further noted, "We are also very gratified to see the results of the Napster team's hard work becoming the basis for other consumer services and moving out into the world."

While some online-music buffs sniff that, without P2P, the Napster imprimatur has little value, the netco actually boasts several other features beloved by its users. These include instant-mesaging, hotlisting (being able to track the musical tastes of other users), and efficient search functionality.

BeMusic claims some 23 million subscribers, and obviously hopes to retain and expand its base by folding digital distribution, online CD sales, community features and datamining into a reliable set of revenue streams.

In a related story, the major labels are still suing Napster, right?

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