Napster Joins DRM-Free Revolution, Announces Start of MP3 Sales

January 7, 2008 11:06 AM ET

Napster will undergo yet another identity change in its tumultuous history, as the digital-music service will return to its MP3 roots by allowing users to purchase songs and albums in DRM-free MP3 format, meaning its tracks will now be compatible with a wide range of portable players, including the iPod. Napster — the program that launched a million illegal-downloading sites, fueled the eventual decline of the record industry and drew the ire of Metallica — has been operating mostly as a subscription music-streaming site since 2002, when Roxio purchased the beleaguered Napster brand. Shawn Fanning's ex-company plans to unleash their MP3s during the second quarter of 2008. Last week unconfirmed reports indicated that Sony/BMG will be ditching the unpopular DRM model. Amazon's MP3 store and iTunes Plus are already vending DRM-free.

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Song Stories

“Hungry Like the Wolf”

Duran Duran | 1982

This indulgent New Romantic group generated their first U.S. hit with the help of what was at the time new technology. "Simon [Le Bon] and I, I think, had been out the night before and had this terrible hangover," said keyboardist Nick Rhodes. "For some reason we were feeling guilty about it and decided to go and do some work." Rhodes started playing with his Jupiter-8 synth, and then "Simon had an idea for a lyric, and by lunchtime when everyone else turned up, we pretty much had the song." The Simmons drumbeat was equally important to the sound of "Hungry Like the Wolf," as Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor stated it "kind of defined the drum sound for the Eighties."

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