Napster’s Hard Road

Napster Logo.Napster — the legal, reincarnated music download site — essentially invented the concept of incumbent campus download services. They loudly{#1684} touted deals with schools “anxious” to stop the p2p music sharing problem. Trouble is, according to this story at The Reg, it’s not working well. A survey at one client university paints a sad picture:

Not a single University of Rochester student admitted to buying a song via Napster during the Fall 2004 semester. Instead, eight per cent of the students turned to the likes of iTunes and Musicmatch to buy songs they enjoy. That’s an ominous sign for a company spending millions to seed the university market with music in the hopes of unseating Apple as the clear leader in online music.

The Reg notes that “Napster has put a new twist on the notion of being a loss leader,” but I’d say the opposite. So long as universities continue to cut Nap in on the student fees and the students continue to ignore Nap, it should be very profitable in the short run.