History and features of Napster, the music platform

Younger people probably don't know Napster, used to using music apps like Apple Music or Spotify, however its history changed the music world forever by introducing file sharing. More than twenty years after its legal undoing, today the platform has been reborn through Rhapsody, becoming a 100% legal music streaming application, accessible with a monthly subscription to listen to or download properly and ethically lots of songs. Let's see how Napster works, what are its origins and how much the subscription costs today.

Napster: what is it and what is its history

Napster was one of the first file sharing services, with which it was possible to download music for free. The platform was proposed in 1999 and developed by Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning, then it was closed in 2001 after a series of legal disputes with music groups and record labels. It was at the dawn of the internet and digital services, when the possibility for users to download content for free represented a threat to the music and audiovisual industry.

Subsequently Napster was acquired by Rhapsody, becoming a paid music streaming application, a platform similar to projects like Spotify or Apple Music, although with less visibility. The 1999 initiative was a shock to the music industry, kicking off the idea of sharing at the heart of the sharing economy. Today this concept is very popular and widespread, but twenty years ago it was a decidedly revolutionary system.

The problem with Napster was the incredible growth of the website, which quickly reached 20 million users, with thousands of downloads per minute at the height of its success. The downloading of copyrighted music files, however, led to a number of lawsuits, the most famous of which were brought by bands such as Metallica, a true flagship in the battle against the illegal sharing of songs without payment of royalties.

The phenomenon of abusive file sharing has slowed down considerably, as services such as Spotify, legal alternatives for online music streaming against payment of the artists, began to emerge. Today the market is dominated by big players, with a turnover that is growing every year, however Napster has survived and is available as a music sharing service. The proposal is similar to that of other giants in the sector, although its popularity is not that of giants such as Apple Music or Amazon Music.

Napster: how it works

Napster music is today a platform in which you can listen to music streaming legally, with a catalog that includes millions of tracks and the possibility for artists to make themselves known within the community. In order to use the application it is necessary to activate an account and pay a monthly subscription, with which the company can pay the artists and companies that own the rights to the songs in the music store.

In the platform it is possible to listen to unlimited tracks, with wide accessibility from any fixed and mobile device. The graphical interface is similar to that of other applications, in fact it proposes a ranking of the most listened tracks on Napster, otherwise you can discover new tracks by browsing by genre or musical theme. The list is quite extensive, with lots of options to choose from for fans of rock, pop, jazz, Latin or electronic music, with filters that make it easy to find tracks for quiet music or socializing, for example.

Napster also provides you with a series of tips and suggestions, highlighting certain music contents according to your personal preferences, or indicating newly released tracks. Of course, you can also create customized playlists, or follow thematic radio stations with tracks selected by the Napster team. With the subscription you can also download the tracks from the catalog, to listen to the music in offline mode.

Also, you can import playlists made with other music sharing services, just use the special tool available within the platform, that way you don't have to recreate the list of music tracks manually. From the account you can also manage various features, such as the history of songs listened to or preferences saved during browsing or playback. Also with Napster you can share music with your contacts on social networks, as the application is compatible with Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

Devices compatible with Napster

To listen to music with Napster UK you can use the web console access, to connect to the website through any desktop or mobile browser such as Safari, Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Alternatively, the Napster app is also available for download from the Google Play Store for Android smartphones and tablets or the App Store for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch iOS and Apple Watch. In the Google Play Store alone, the app has more than 10 million downloads, far less than Spotify's 500 million, but still a lot for a 1999 platform.

Napster is also compatible with many smart speakers and Bluetooth speakers, including Amazon Echo devices, in fact it is available as a skill of the virtual assistant Alexa, downloadable from Amazon's official Appstore. The app also works with Sonos smart speakers, Yamaha smart speakers, Nintendo consoles and some Samsung smart TVs. It is also integrable with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as being pre-installed in several infotainment systems, such as the multimedia systems fitted to some Bmw, Mini and Audi models.

How much does a Napster subscription cost

The Napster Premium subscription includes a free 30-day trial period, during which you can access the platform without paying anything. After that, you need to activate your account at a cost of €9.95 per month, in line with the rates of other similar music streaming services. The plan can be cancelled at any time, with no additional costs or cancellation fees, while among the included services are high-quality 320 kbps audio, online and offline music playback, all playlist and download functions, as well as dedicated music radios.

Subscription payment can be made with Google Pay or Apple Pay digital wallets, or PayPal, while prepaid cards or gift cards are not accepted, not even those issued on the international Visa or MasterCard circuits. Obviously, Napster Premium can be paid with a credit card, in fact, the platform recognizes all major cards such as Discover, Visa, American Express and MasterCard, which can be managed directly from your Napster account within the personal section of your profile.

How to register to Napster Italia

Registration to Napster Italia is very simple, you just need to access the web platform, or download the app for mobile devices, then you can perform the manual procedure or use your Facebook account. To complete the registration you just need to enter an email address, choose a password and accept the terms of service. Finally, all that remains is to enter the web console or the mobile application, with the possibility of listening to music for free for a month before the billing period begins.

Napster: pros and cons

The service proposed by Napster is the classic one of today's music streaming platforms, with a simple and intuitive graphic interface, the possibility of creating customized playlists, downloading tracks to listen to them offline and saving personal preferences. The application is in Italian, but some contents are in English, such as artist biographies and some guides. The audio quality is remarkable, suitable for modern standards, and the app doesn't take up much space in your smartphone's memory.

The price is in line with the market proposal, in fact, almost all services are offered at just under 10 euros, although some platforms boast a higher catalog in terms of number of tracks and quality of available tracks. Compatibility is high, with plenty of devices supporting the Napster app, such as Android and iOS smartphones, Mac and Windows laptops and desktops, digital platforms for the car, smart speakers and audio speakers. Skills for Alexa and apps for web browsers are also available, making it easy to navigate and play music with voice commands as well.

Alternatives to Napster for music streaming

Those who want to stream music can find many alternatives to Napster, with the option to choose based on their needs and personal tastes. The most popular option today is Spotify, with a similar price of 9.99 euros per month for the premium version but also a free access that Napster does not offer. The same goes for Deezer, with a free random play plan and paid packages of 9.99 euros per month or 14.99 euros for the family option. Another giant is Amazon Music, available as part of the Prime subscription for just 3 euros per month along with Prime Video and Prime Reading, an offer that's really hard to beat.

Jeff Bezos's company also provides the premium Amazon Music Unlimited service, with packages from 9.99 euros per month and family option at 14.99 euros monthly. For iOS users there is instead Apple Music, considered one of the best solutions ever for music streaming, with a price of 9.99 euros per month, student subscription at 4.99 euros per month and family version at 14.99 euros per month. Finally, you can prefer Tidal, less popular but of excellent quality for audiophiles, with a cost of 9.99 euros per month and High Quality package at 19.99 euros per month, otherwise with YouTube Music Premium for less than 10 euros you can access the audio/video streaming of Google.