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If you were lucky enough (or old enough) to be around at the start of the tech revolution, then you surely remember the case of Napster. A small company started by a college student, Napster turned out to be one of the biggest file sharing organizations to start using the Internet the way we use it today.
After the downfall of the company due to copyright infringement, many thought that was the end of Napster, but it has since turned itself around and now is known as a site that urges its users to pay for the rights to download or stream music. For long time users of Napster, the ability to take your music with you is possible thanks to the various mobile apps offered from the company.
Here, we'll look at the Napster BlackBerry app.
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Who is Napster?
For those that may not be aware, Napster was a peer to peer file sharing company that began on the campus of Boston's Northeastern University and was started by Shawn Fanning. The purpose of the site was for music lovers to trade and get their favorite music or albums. There were (and are) many reasons why people chose to download music - CD prices were high, often costing $20 or more, often listeners only wanted one or two particular songs without having to buy an entire album, and some music might not have easily been found in stores.
While there were other such online sites, Napster specialized in music and allowed users to just sign up and then download their favorite music for free. In 1999, however, Napster was served with a copyright infringement lawsuit by A&M Records. This was a particularly high profile case, as it provoked a debate between users who want music versus the musicians that make it and their recording companies. Several artists came out on either side, with the most famous detractors being the heavy metal band, Metallica and rapper/producer Dr. Dre.
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In the aftermath of the copyright infringement battle, Napster publicly apologized and shut down the site. The concept, however, would return, as did the website, but now it adhered to the copyright laws for distributing music. There was a debate when the company re-emerged as a pay site, allowing users to pay a small fee a month in order to stream or download music.
Rates for streaming music are between $5-7, while users have the ability to purchase individual tracks at their given price.
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Napster BlackBerry App
BlackBerry owners and users of Napster will enjoy the ability to take their Napster with them on the go. The Napster BlackBerry app can be found on the mobile section of Napster's main website. New users will need to sign up and pay a $10/monthly fee for use of streaming through their computer and their mobile device, but the app does allow for users to browse, search, preview, play, and download songs on their BlackBerrys.
While in itself the app is great for BlackBerry users, there are downsides. Only two carriers offer the ability to have this app on the BlackBerry - AT&T and Cellular One, and only those with either a Curve 8310 or the Pearl 8100 can use it, which excludes many people. The hope, of course, is that Napster will extend their service to those on the other carriers, as well as making it available for any new up and coming BlackBerry phones.
The bottom line for getting the app is truly based on the individual, though there doesn't really seem to be a need for the app to be used. This is especially glaring when there are plenty of free streaming music players and radio apps for BlackBerry that users can download with no distinction for phone or carrier. If you are a Napster user, who is on AT&T, and has either a Curve 8310 or a Pearl 8100, then the app is a great benefit for you. For the rest of the BlackBerry users out there, you may just be stuck listening on your computer, but you can always get an alternative music streaming app for your BlackBerry.
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- Napster Mobile, http://www.napster.com/napstermobile/
- Image content via Napster Mobile