August 16, 2005

Napster Launches Action Sports Mobile Content

Napster, which has recelty launched its ringtones through Dwango, is now launching mobile content from a group of action sports athletes the company sponsors, also through Dwango. The new content includes exclusive shout outs (I suppose that means voice tones) from "Team Napster" snowboarder Marc Frank Montoya, Supercross/Motocross racer Kevin Windham and freestyle motocross rider Adam Jones, as well as a new line of action sport-themed ringtones and wallpapers.
A bunch of other promotions, mainly as way to get people in for its main Napster music subscription service.

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August 15, 2005

BellSouth, Napster in marketing partnership

Atlanta Business Chronicle: BellSouth will give its new high-speed Internet customers the chance to get a free MP3 player plus three months of membership to Napster's digital music service.

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August 03, 2005

Napster files for $200 mln debt, stock shelf

Reuters: Napster has filed with U.S. regulators on Wednesday to periodically sell up to $200 million in debt securities, common and preferred stock, depositary shares.
It would use the proceeds from the offering for general corporate purposes, working capital and capital expenditures.

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Earnings: Napster Reports Wider Loss, But Beats Revenue Expectations

AP: Online music service Napster reported a wider loss for Q2, but surpassed Street expectations as the its revenues more than doubled from last year.
The quarterly loss was $19.9 million, compared to $2.6 million last year. Revenue rose to $21 million from last year's $7.9 million. During the quarter, Napster paid subscribers -- excluding university subscribers on summer break -- surged 13 percent sequentially and more than tripled from the same period last year. Those subscribers grew from to 402,000 from 356,000 during the period.
Looking ahead, Napster expects to report Q3 revenues in the range of $21 million to $23 million. Wall Street projects sales of $21.5 million during the period.
Gross margins for the company on content also increased to 31 percent, up from 20 percent in the year-ago quarter.
Release: Napster ended the first quarter with $126.6 million in cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments, plus $14.2 million in value of shares of Sonic Solutions stock, including the associated hedge, for a total of $140.8 million.

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Napster and Tower Records Japan Create Joint Venture to Launch Napster Japan

Release: Napster has tied up with Tower Records Japan, the leading music retailer in Japan, to launch Napster Japan in the territory within the next 12 months.
The new venture will initially operate out of Tower's Tokyo headquarters under the guidance of a dedicated board of directors chaired by TRJ CEO Hiroyuki Fushitani. The announcement earmarks Japan as Napster's next major market after the U.S., UK, Canada, and soon-to-be-launched Germany.
Under the terms of the deal, TRJ will contribute up to $7 million in cash and undertake additional funding obligations in exchange for an approximately 70% majority equity stake in Napster Japan. Napster will provide up to $3 million in cash in exchange for a 30% minority equity stake in Napster Japan and guaranteed royalty income.

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August 02, 2005

Napster Soars; InfoSpace Sours

Forbes: Napster stock soared 19% last week to $5.14 after the company announced that it plans to team up with XM to deliver Napster+XM, which we reported on HERE. "For a while, analysts have been predicting that the satellite and online music industries would somehow converge, and this deal marks the first substantial move in that direction."

InfoSpace on the other hand, "lost 30% of its value after it provided a dismal forecast for the current quarter and the year, to end the week at $24.14...As a result, InfoSpace's shares were savaged as five investment banks lowered their ratings on the company."

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July 31, 2005

Napster's Future

Chicago Tribune: (reg. req.) A good overview story on the current incarnation of Napster. And it is not that good: When Napster releases Q2 results Wednesday, it is expected to have added 25,000 subscribers, a sharp deceleration from the 86,000 full-paying ones added in the previous quarter. Excluding seasonal university clients, Napster has about 381,000 full-paying subscribers.
Analysts expect Q2 revenues to total $20 million. But nearly $16 million of that goes directly to the record companies as royalties. All told, Napster is likely to have burned through $27 million, $20 million of that for marketing. With $132 million in cash at the end of March, and going through about $27 million a quarter, Napster has roughly until late 2006 to significantly improve its operating margins or risk imploding.

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July 28, 2005

Dwango Introduces Napster Ringtones In Canada With Rogers Wireless

Napster_logo_2Press Release: Yesterday, Dwango Wireless and Napster announced the launch of the Napster Ringtones mobile phone service throughout Canada with Rogers Wireless, which currently serves more than 5.5 million Canadian subscribers and is the largest wireless communications service provider in the country. The launch marks the first partnership between Dwango and Napster in Canada...

“We are looking forward to delivering Napster branded mobile entertainment to Canadian music lovers as they explore Napster Ringtones on their mobile devices,” said Alexander U. Conrad, president and COO of Dwango Wireless. “We are proud to partner with Rogers Wireless in this endeavor as the company continues to demonstrate an ongoing dedication to delivering compelling mobile content to subscribers.”

Under the deal, Rogers subscribers can easily access Napster Ringtones, artist “shoutouts,” exclusive wallpaper and other graphics from Napster’s extensive library.  The content starts at $2.10 CDN and is compatible with a wide variety of phones.

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July 27, 2005

Napster Joins The Party With XM and Samsung

Reuters: We reported yesterday that XM Radio and Samsung will soon introduce a satellite radio receiver and digital music player that will let XM subscribers buy and download songs through an exclusive arrangement with an online music store...Today, Napster has announced that it is the online music store of choice and the new service will be called "XM+Napster."

XM and Napster said they plan to launch the online service in the fourth quarter of 2005 (in conjunction with the availability of Samsung's new XM/MP3 players that let users bookmark songs they hear while listening to the radio for future purchases online) that enables XM's 4.4 million subscribers to buy music they hear on the paid XM radio service. After the MP3 player is connected to a PC, the service will match the marked XM titles with songs in Napster's catalog so that they can be easily purchased...

--XM, Napster in joint online music venture
--XM, Samsung and Napster Form Download Alliance

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July 22, 2005

Napster Approves New Batch of MP3 Players

bizjournal: The Treo 650 smartphone from Palm Inc., the Rio Carbon and ce2100 from Rio Audio and the YH-925 and YH-820 from Samsung were all offcially approved this week by Napster to work with its "Napster To Go" subscription music service after rigorous testing and certification...This brings the total number of compatible MP3 players and devices over 25... More HERE from the Press Release.

"Palm, Rio and Samsung are manufacturers at the forefront of the exploding portable media device marketplace and we are very pleased that Napster To Go members will now have a wider array of cutting edge devices to choose from," said Chris Gorog, Napster's chairman and CEO. "Serious music fans have spoken and are clearly interested in devices that allow them to move all their favorite music to their favorite player without paying a buck a track."

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