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Newest iteration of Napster is free

Newest iteration of Napster is free

Yes, Napster is free again.

Launching this morning, the new Napster offers more than 2 million tracks for streaming on its ad-supported Web site, where you can still purchase most tracks for 99 cents. Here's the catch: you can stream a track up to five times, and of course you must register. Napster can be accessed on any Web-enabled Windows, Mac, or Linux machine, and it doesn't require any downloads or plug-ins. The site is easy to navigate and full of ads, and you'll probably find most of what you want. Napster's move makes sense, especially as the service had been rumoured to be struggling. This gives the average user another reason to check out Napster.

Two new features include NapsterLinks, which allows the user to send a Napster link of any song, album, or artist, and the user-generated and curated Narchive, also referred to as the "People's History of Music."

The premium subscription service, including Napster To Go, is still available in addition to Napster Lite, the non-ad-driven application that allows you to purchase tracks à la carte.

Update: We weren't too impressed with the audio quality of the streams, so we poked around and discovered that streams are delivered in .swf Flash format at a measly 32kbps.