is set to rise like a phoenix from the ashes this Christmas holiday season, but this time with its legal affairs in check, Napster owner Roxio Inc. said Monday.
The fallen song-swapping service, which was knocked offline last year after a prolonged legal battle with the record industry over copyright infringement allegations, will re-emerge as a legal paid music service Napster 2.0.
At launch, the new Napster will boast access to up to 500,000 tracks, Roxio said.
The service will be offering its music content through deals with all five major record labels and a variety of independent labels, Roxio said, in stark contrast to the service’s freewheeling days when it offered users the ability to trade their music for free.
Santa Clara, California-based Roxio has been laying the groundwork for a Napster relaunch since it bought the service’s remaining assets late last year. Since then, it scooped up online music subscription service Pressplay for US$39.5 million and added eLabs president and music veteran Larry Kenswil to its board. ELabs is the new-media and technologies division of Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group.
Roxio Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Chris Gorog said in a release that the early prototypes of Napster 2.0 are progressing well and that more details of the service will be revealed closer to launch. Gorog was due to speak further on the company’s Napster strategy in a keynote address at Jupiter Research’s Plug.In digital music conference in New York later Monday.