For my money, one of the most exciting pieces of news coming out of CES this year is Napster's announcement that the service will be offering up its entire download catalog in the DRM-free MP3 format. It may not be free, but it still hearkens back to the olden days of Napster. Of course, Amazon.com's digital music store has been selling MP3 files for months now (and eMusic much longer than that), but having another major online music service push for the most universal of digital music formats is just one more step in the right direction--it makes things infinitely less complicated for the consumer to have access to one type of file that will play back on any MP3 player or computer.
The change is set to roll out in the second quarter of 2008 and will apply to Napster's entire catalog of pay-per-download tracks and albums. Subscription tracks will still come in the DRM-wrapped WMA variety, a necessary evil for that type of service.