Napster-to-Go, the subscription music service from Napster (ticker: NAPS), finally got a good review:
Wilson Rothman of The New York Times wrote:
"The magic of the subscription plan is that music you don't know is also covered... Sitting in judgment didn't mean sitting in front of a computer screen, either; I could do it in the driver's seat of my car".His main concern was his preference for the physical iPod player itself and Napster's PC software:
I could easily dismiss the players friendly with Napster to Go, but most of my gripes merely translate into this boilerplate: They're not iPods... More substantial are my complaints with Napster's PC software, which tends to jerk the user around in a very unstable fashion. It takes its sweet time reacting to mouse clicks, and mundane maneuvers make it freeze for minutes. Players often ominously "stop responding" in the middle of something important.
Rothman's conclusion, rather unhappily for NAPS shareholders, is that Apple will bring out a subscription music service, and when it does he'll get the best of both worlds - a subscription music plan with iPod hardware. But keep this in perspective: Rothman's review was more flattering than Walter Mossberg's.
Meanwhile, the Pew Internet and American Life Project released results of a survey that showed that:
- The percentage of music downloaders who have tried paid services has grown from 24% in 2004 to 43% in the most recent survey (though respondents may now be less likely to report peer-to-peer usage due to the stigma associated with the networks).
- The percentage of internet users who say they download music files has increased from 18% in February 2004 to 22% in January 2005. "Still", says the report, "this number continues to rest well-below the peak level (32%) that we registered in October 2002."