Napster becomes the second online music service (after Amazon MP3) to offer DRM-free tracks from all of the major recording companies:
Napster, the pioneer of digital music, today announced the launch of the world’s largest and most comprehensive MP3 store at www.napster.com/store.
Napster’s download store is more than 50 percent larger than any other MP3 store and boasts not only the largest major label MP3 catalog in the industry, but also the largest library of independent music available anywhere. All Napster download sales in the US will now be in the user-friendly, DRM-free MP3 format, which is compatible with virtually any MP3 player or music phone including the iPod and the iPhone. Napster is the first music subscription service featuring major label content to offer 100 percent of its catalog in the MP3 format for download sales.
Pricing for download sales will remain at 99 cents for single MP3 tracks and $9.95 for most MP3 albums, Napster confirmed. The vast majority of the MP3 catalog, including all major label content, is available at a high-quality 256kbps bitrate, and downloaded tracks include high-resolution album art. Consumers can visit and browse the download store with no obligation or commitment, and can also choose to subscribe to Napster’s on-demand streaming service, which is web-based and can be accessed from any Internet-connected computer without downloading software.
While I have a natural aversion to Napster thanks to years of experience with their horrible user interface, it's always nice to have choices. Plus you can't argue with the size of the library.
BTW: Napster offers "MP3 Track Packs" that lower per-song prices. A 15-song Track Pack, for example, is $13.95, and there are 25-track ($21.95) and 50-track ($39.95) versions available as well. To purchase one, logon to Napster and select Devices and More then MP3 Track Packs in the left column.