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NAPSTER TO TEST NEW (AND LIMITED!) SUBSCRIPTION MODEL
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Despite reports of its potential demise, Napster has begun recruiting users for a beta test of its proposed new pay service.

Testing is expected to begin within a month, and the launch of the subscription service is set for sometime this summer, according to MTV News. A Napster spokesperson said Monday (5/14) that no precise launch dates have currently been set.

The new subscription service, created in conjunction with investor Bertelsmann, is expected to charge users a monthly fee for access to music online.

Napster hopes its audio fingerprinting technology, which was introduced earlier this month (hitsdailydouble.com, 5/8), will allow the service to track music traded through its system and pay appropriate royalties to labels and artists.

MTV reports that BMG, which is owned by Bertelsmann, is the only major label that has agreed to participate in the new service, which would severely limit the amount of music available through it.

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