Napster Takes Its Show on the Road

Digital music download service Napster is launching its “Napster To Go Cafe Tour” in four U.S. cities to promote its new subscription service.

Napster will visit coffee shops and clubs in New York, Austin, Los Angeles and Nashville, where it will give away a thousand MP3 players and Napster subscriptions. Napster will take over the locales for a night with signs, t-shirts, Napster coffee cups, and an old-fashioned jukebox. It’s promoting the giveaways as “free fills & refills” of digital music and coffee, getting the word out via radio promotions and flyers.

The Napster To Go subscription music service, launched in September 2004, enables consumers to move an unlimited number of tracks from Napster’s catalog to Windows Media-compatible MP3 players for a monthly fee. The tour is part of a $30 million marketing campaign that kicked off with a Super Bowl spot, and continues with ongoing TV, consumer magazine, and online ads. Napster users skew male, and fall into the 25 to 44 age group.

As with its Super Bowl ad, the “do the math” message being used on the tour tells users they can fill up a 40 GB MP3 player for $10,000 by buying songs from other providers for $0.99 each — or they can do it for $14.95 a month with Napster’s subscription service.

“Napster’s portable subscription service is a revolutionary new way to enjoy digital music and gain access to well over a million songs,” said Chris Gorog, Napster’s chairman and CEO. “The Napster To Go tour allows us to connect directly with consumers and let them experience the future of digital music firsthand.”

Napster To Go offers users community features like “Playlists To Go,” where users can download ready-made playlists of up to 50 songs to a device with one click. For non-subscription members, Napster also offers the Napster Light a la carte download store. At the end of last year, Napster had 270,000 users in the United States, Canada and the U.K.

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