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Circuit City + Napster is scheduled to launch on April 29

The online music business is about to get another competitor into an already crowded market.  Circuit City has announced a deal in which it will work with Napster to offer an online music subscription service.  Users of the Circuit City + Napster service will have access to millions of songs in the Napster library along with weekly access to a select few tracks that are not available through Napster.

The service is scheduled to begin on April 29, 2007.  Users will have to pay $14.95 per month, or purchase individual songs for $0.99.  New subscripters will get one month free and five free song downloads.  Users can also purchase prepaid download cards in 15, 25 or 60 track increments.

Users of the service are free to put downloaded tracks on any type of MP3 player -- regardless of whether or not Circuit City sells it, according to a Napster spokesman.

Music downloads have increased as customers are purchasing less CDs, with the Apple iTunes download service dominating music sales.  A number of companies have created partnerships in an attempt to compete with iTunes.  For example, Best Buy, SanDisk and RealNetworks introduced a subscription service late last year.

Circuit City hopes the new music download service will help the struggling company turn around.  Circuit City, operating as many as 650 stores in the U.S., recently fired 3,400 "overpaid" employees.  The company is expected to make more steps as it tries to reduce costs.

Napster will benefit by giving the company another outlet and another marketing push that could lead to more subscribers.




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