Napster back - and legal



Napster, the pioneering song-swapping internet service, is returning to business after two years.

A legal version of the service, Napster 2.0, will be available to US customers who will have to pay for downloading music.

The original Napster had 60 million users but was forced to close when record companies began legal action over copyright infringements.

Napster 2.0 is offering single tracks for about 60p and albums for about £6.

It will make available 500,000 songs which fans will be able to buy through a monthly subscription or one-off purchases.

Napster was one of the first companies of its kind on the web but is now among a number offering the same basic service in a rapidly evolving online music business.

Apple launched its iTunes Music Store in the US for Macintosh users, and later made it available to PC users. Within four days, a million PC users had downloaded the software.

Another major player is Kazaa, an unlicensed service which has been accused of encouraging its users to download pirated music.

Napster was bought last year by digital media company Roxio for £2.9m, with plans to launch a legal service but cashing in on the brand name.