Napster Goes DRM-Free

May 21, 2008
Updated • Dec 3, 2012
Music, Music and Video

I don't own an iPod or any other music player so this post is not really something I've tried out yet. First it was Amazon, then iTunes, and now Napster. What am I referring to? DRM-free music of course.

Everyone who's ever experienced music with DRM knows just how frustrating things can get. You buy a great new song and then realize you are bound by really dumb restrictions. That too on something you paid good money for. Still, the DRM wall is collapsing slowly but surely thanks to music stores willing to offer DRM-free music.

Back to Napster. The store has two main listening options. You can either opt for a monthly listening subscription which works out cheaper or download individual songs for 99 cents. Oh yeah, you can also download a full album for $9.95. Apart from being DRM-free, the songs are encoded at a reasonably high quality bitrate of 256 kbps and come with album art.

Why is Napster doing this? SImple. They're looking to compete with iTunes. Apple has pretty much been the music retailer to beat for anyone looking to dominate the online music market. They seem to have started on a good note. Napster claims to have 6 million songs in their store songs from both major record labels and indie artists.

I'm going to wait and watch how Napster does before I pass any final judgments on their service. What do you think of Napster's strategy? Would you be willing to purchase songs from their store? How do you think they'll do against iTunes and the rest? Let me know in the comments.


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  1. Justin said on November 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The warning message about AAC streams when you load streams is because you don’t have the free Orban AAC/aacPlus Player Plugin installed.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Justin, thanks for the information.

  2. santosh said on December 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

    does this support AAC ? or only mp3 streaming

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

      I’d say it supports all pls streams but I have not tried that so cannot verify it 100%.

  3. Barnabas said on August 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you Martin for a most informative and viable solution (it allowed me to play streams from a Netherland internet radio station in my WMP)! Continued success to you!

    Barnabas (USA)

  4. AppleRome said on October 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Your steps’ recommendation is still valid until 7th October 2012.. Thank you very much !!

  5. Laura said on December 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you!

  6. sak2005 said on December 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    You must convert file.pls to file.m3u
    because file.pls open with winamp and file.m3u open with wmp.

  7. Lithium said on February 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    2017 still kicking on Windows 7
    Thx a ton

  8. Dennis said on April 18, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Hey, even i can do it, i stumbled through it and it works great! The only instruction advice i will add as i had to figure this out, when the wmp box opens that says save or open the bar on right says wmp click that drop down and select “open pls in wmp” once you do that it will work . Took me quite some time to discover that as i am no computer expert by any means. Having said that, previously i had downloaded codec packages and something about aac. None did any good. This rocks, i listen to a lot of internet radio and a number of them have dropped flash player and getting wmp to work had been a nightmare. So many thanks for this great solution to another problem that Micro-Hell will not even address. Peace- Out

  9. stephen marshall said on March 19, 2019 at 2:07 am

    openplsinwmp came in a zip file. I unpacked it, and didn’t find anything that looks like an executable, and even the files in the “doc” folder were in a format windows didn’t recognize. I’m not stupid. you said it would open effortlessly. It didn’t. This a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down.

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