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Napster touts subscriber growth

Digital music service's subscriber base increases 50 percent in its third fiscal quarter, compared with its second quarter.

Digital music service Napster's subscriber base increased 50 percent in its third fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 31, compared with its second quarter. Napster executives said they believe the company is now the fastest-growing music subscription service in the industry, based on the quarter-over-quarter subscriber increase.

Napster said it finished the quarter with about 270,000 paid subscribers, including 44,000 customers participating in its university programs, which offer cut-rate deals to college students. A recent study published by JupiterResearch found that subscription-based music services are becoming popular among young adults and may eventually outgrow a la carte song downloads. While 16 percent of Internet-using adults currently download 99-cent singles, 17 percent have been wooed by subscription services such as Napster and RealNetworks' Rhapsody, the report said.