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Wed, Jan 05, 2005 - Page 12 News List

Napster gains respectability with NASDAQ listing


Napster, the name that once was a symbol of rampant music piracy, on Monday completed its transformation to respectability by becoming a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ exchange.

Napster was being traded under the NAPS symbol on the electronic stock exchange, reflecting a name change by the company that bought the service, Roxio.

But the new company is a far cry from the old Napster, which had as many as 70 million members freely trading music files and pioneering the effort to use the Internet as a music service.

The old Napster was forced into bankruptcy in 2001 after a series of lawsuits by the music industry accusing the site of being a hub for exchange of copyright-protected music.

Music software maker Roxio acquired the name and assets of Napster in 2002 for US$5 million dollars in cash plus stock, and converted it into a fee-based Web site that allows subscribers to legally download music files.

Subsequently, Roxio sold off its software division and decided to concentrate on online music, changing the company name to Napster.

In a statement, the Los Angeles-based firm said it expected revenues of some US$11 million in the quarter ended Dec. 31.

"Napster created the first online music service, the first combination subscription and download service and the first portable subscription service. We are proud today to continue Napster's tradition of innovation by becoming the first pure-play public digital music company in the nation," said Chris Gorog, company chairman and chief executive.

"With analysts projecting multi-billion dollar sales for this sector, we are very confident in Napster's strategic position and are very excited about our future."

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