Blog Post

Gorog: Napster Will launch Free Web-based Music Service In 2006

Napster Chairman and CEO Chris Gorog spent a considerable chunk of the earnings call on the announcement of a new, free web-based music product slated for launch sometime in 2006. Currently, Napster.com is used for software download, marketing and corporate info. Gorog said the company plans to capitalize on the “millions” of visits to the site by providing “free access to a unqiue world of music-related experience not currently available on the web. … We believe it will fill a very big gap.” He added, “It’s not a marketing gimmick or promotion but rather a very fundamental extension of what we are doing in the paid environment.” Advetrising is part of the business model and Napster already has hired two new ad execs.
At first blush, the move makes sense — Rhapsody, which Napster sees as its key competition in subscriptions, has Rhapsody 25, with 25 free music downloads a month. Gorog’s boast, stated as fact, that Napster is “the default music brand” positioned to create the “default music destination” leaves me a little cold.
During q-and-a, he told an analyst he wouldn’t discuss the feature set, that it would be highly interactive and that it was unlike anything out there. (Sort of sounds like eBay’s IT ad campaign.) More to come.

Gorog caught a little grief from another analyst for talking about being a nimble company yet not appearing to turn around the new “destination” quickly. Gorog said he couldn’t give a launch date for competitive reasons and that the site’s design is complex.

mp3logo1.gif You can download the call audio here. (8.6 Megs, 49:36)