Napster’s Sleazy Front Door

I’m trying out some of the online music sites, and am presently playing around with Napster. What ticks me off about these services is they try to confuse the novice into handing over their credit card details before they can get into the service, even if they have already bought a pre-paid card. The offer is ‘we just need your credit card, but it’s a free trial, honest!’. This happens at least three times, and then another pop-up window with no button to click but the one that takes you to the ‘free trial’. Anyone not absolutely sure what they’re doing is bound to click on the wrong button at some point and, eventually just hand over their credit card details just to get to the dang music store.

Of course the unsuspecting punter finds they forget to cancel and bang! At the end of the month they’re getting charged. Given a lot of the users are youngsters, I think this kind of approach, though not unusual, is appalling. Is there no shame on the part of the folk who run these services, and no legal safeguards against this kind of thing? First bad mark against Napster.

News: Emusic Scales Back

 Emusic.com, the pioneer among online music sites, has been sold, and, more importantly, is scaling back its service. It’s still the only service offering downloads in the standard MP3 format, still has the best selection of independent labels, but is now owned by Dimensional Associates LLC, a private equity group, but has limited its main subscriber base, paying $10 a month, to no more than 40 downloads a month.
 
Now, those wanting more — up to 300 tracks per month (approximately 25 albums) — will have to pay a monthly charge of $50. Sad, but inevitable. And it’s still cheaper than most online music services.