August 2, 2005
../ Napster & XM Partner on New Receiver/Player/Service
High-Concept Convergence will be home for the holidays...
...but will it be easy to use?
Napster and XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc. announced a unique service and device
that will enable XM Satellite subscribers to actively bookmark songs they like while listening to the radio. In a dynamic twist, the bookmarked songs will
automatically be downloaded to the new combination radio receiver and digital audio player in the MP3 format. The user will then be able to play the tracks on demand,
but if they want to transfer the songs to another player, they will be sent to Napster to purchase the tracks.
Samsung Electronics, Napster's longtime hardware technology partner, will make the new hardware.
The new service is a forward-thinking convergence of both companies' core competencies. If XM,
Samsung and Napster can meld their technologies for a seamless user experience, then the new service/player will finally be a compelling alternative to Apple's
iTunes/iPod combo. The bookmark option is something that users have been clamoring for during the last couple of years, but has been widely ignored by
industry leader Apple. In fact, Apple's new iPod Shuffle, which has no LCD screen for identifying songs, has been
criticized by reviewers for not including a bookmark
feature. Listeners have welcomed the addition of a data stream to terrestrial radio broadcasts
which have enabled the stations to send out not only a text station ID, but also the name of the current song and artist.
When a user connects the player to a computer, Napster will automatically launch and flag the
bookmarked songs, giving the user the option to purchase them for outright ownership. The mini hard drive-based devices will come in two flavors: one
with 50 hours worth of capacity and one with 25 hours. The new models will only work when
connected to a home or car connection, but a fully portable model is under development for launch in mid 2006.
The Future: Samsung,
who has hung in with Napster despite dismal sales of their co-branded player, is posed to be a big winner if XM's customers adopt the new service. To us,
everything about the new device/service makes incredible sense and enables the user to completely consolidate their music collection into one device.
A subscriber can now bring their favorite songs with them while commuting to work, as well as listen to their favorite XM broadcasts. With the ability
to download and store MP3s, the service will most likely include the ability to record broadcasts, a la TiVo and Podcasting, at a future date.
This time-shifting feature will allow XM and Napster to put their arms around the latest popular trend furthering their reach and creating the
ultimate convergence device/service...if, and only if, they can make it a seamless, intuitive experience.
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As the name correctly implies, Experiments In Sound, is Futuremusic's latest endeavor for pushing electronic music technology to the very edge of what's possible.
Experiments In Sound grew out of Futuremusic's avant-garde events in
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Learn more about Experiments In Sound!
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Think you got skills?? Then start practicing! The Next Big Thing 2005 will kick off at the end of the summer!!
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