Napster UK unveils new 'streaming with MP3 downloads' subscriptions

Unlimited streaming with five MP3 downloads every month? Yup, that's the new Napster plan. And it's not just for the Yanks either -- we're getting it this year as well

This week, Napster announced a new price plan for US customers: $5 (£3.20) per month for unlimited streaming and five MP3 downloads to keep forever, each month. A decent deal, considering songs are a buck a piece ayway. Now we can confirm Napster is planning to bring the same offer to the UK and Germany this year.

Speaking with CNET UK, a Napster spokesperson said that "Following the successful launch of (Napster's) MP3 with on-demand streaming plan in the US, we are trying to launch the service later this calendar year in the UK and Germany." Specific prices weren't mentioned for either country.

The model isn't anything new, however. In the US, Microsoft's $15 (£10) per month Zune Pass subscription service lets Zune customers download and listen to an unlimited amount of music for their Zune. And although that music goes Houdini on your ass should you stop paying, each month you can pick ten to keep forever as MP3s, even if you cancel your subscription.

It's an attractive model. But Napster has only announced unlimited streaming -- not unlimited downloads. And in the UK, why wouldn't we just get unlimited free streaming from Spotify, and buy songs ad hoc each month from Amazon, iTunes or 7digital?

What we'd rather have is Napster's To Go service with ten free MP3s for £15 a month. We don't like the whole subscription/rental model, but if you're also getting music to keep each month, we'd dislike it a hell of a lot less.

What do you think? Does it remind you of Napster's 'the first five plays are free' thing from 2006? Your comments: post them below.

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