Napster has signed a fresh deal with German music giant Bertelsmann to license its file sharing technology.
The terms of the deal will integrate Napster's internet infrastructure, bar the controversial peer-to-peer architecture, into Bertelsmann subsidiary BeMusic.
Bertelsmann was apparently attracted by Napster's community oriented technology, which it hopes to use to create a one-stop media shop.
A statement from the company said that Napster's infrastructure would be "used as a core building block" for BeMusic's new ventures. BeMusic also runs the BMG Music Service record club, the CDNow online retailer and the Myplay online music locker.
Napster's technology will allow customers to buy a CD from the CDNow online store and then have the contents automatically uploaded to their Myplay music locker.
The deal will not include Napster's peer-to-peer technology, which landed the company in so much trouble.
In related news, rival file sharing firm Audiogalaxy sent an email to its members yesterday informing them that a subscription fee was inevitable for users who want to access the company's full range of music.
"Due to very high server loads, Audiogalaxy has regrettably had to remove selected songs from many boards," the email said.
"To obtain the full benefit of Audiogalaxy's extensive range of music a new low cost subscription fee will be implemented from 1 January 2002. This will not be arbitrary but will provide our subscribers with the full range that Audiogalaxy has to offer," it continued.
But the news sparked doubt among users. "Can a full subscription service be far behind? I have used Audiogalaxy for very hard to find MP3 files and there is nothing that compares to it for older music," said one.
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