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Napster Chooses Loudeye

Napster (www.napster.com) announced that it was teaming with Loudeye ( www.loudeye.com) to provide song identification and metadata to Napster's upcoming file sharing service.

Using fingerprinting technology provided by Napster, Loudeye will generate unique digital signatures, or fingerprints, for songs. Loudeye is providing this service by combining its catalog with new releases as part of its ongoing licensing relationships with the five major music companies and smaller independent labels.

Ostensibly, this service will allow Napster to identify songs that must be filtered out, as ruled by a court decision earlier this year. Despite its best efforts, Napster has been criticized for failing to block a large number of copyrighted songs. Napster users have been using complex naming conventions to get around the filters.

Napster has made deals with other companies to track and identify songs. Earlier this year, it made a deal with Relatable to use its fingerprinting technology, and it is also using GraceNote for file filtering. Napster also acquired music identification company Gigabeat in April for an undisclosed sum.

Earlier this week, Napster said it was partnering with MusicNet, the online music subscription company created by RealNetworks, America Online, BMG, EMI, and Warner Brothers.

John T. Baker, Loudeye's CEO said that the agreement shows the power and scalability of Loudeye's music infrastructure. "Napster is committed to deploying sophisticated technology to build their business, and to protect the interests of copyright holders," said Baker. "I am delighted that Loudeye is supporting those efforts."

In related news, Napster announced on Thursday that it appointed Jonathan Schwartz as General Counsel. Schwartz will be managing Napster's ongoing legal affairs for its new membership-based service. He will also work on the ongoing court case.

Napster said its new subscription-based service will launch this summer.

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