AT&T's Napster Deal: Non-Starter

Like eMusic, Napster (NAPS) has signed a deal to sell individual songs to AT&T mobile customers. Like the eMusic deal, the Napster agreement offers consumers the same lousy pricing scheme: $1.99 a song, or $7.49 for 5 songs. Bad news for AT&T, Napster and their customers, but good news for SAI writers, who get to use the same analysis they generated at the end of July, with minimal edits:

…yet again, consumers are being asked to spend more to purchase something on their phone than they would if they bought it anywhere else. In this case [Napster] and AT&T are charging $7.49 for 5 songs: That’s a 50% markup over what it would cost to buy the songs via iTunes…Carriers and labels will argue that it costs more to transmit songs over the air to your phone, but that’s their problem, not yours. Since 2003, when Steve Jobs introduced the iTunes store, the maximum price for a tune has been a buck a song, and given the ease with which most songs can be procured for free, the music industry should be happy to get that.

Note, by the way, that last spring Sprint finally cut the price for its over the air downloads from $2.49 to 99 cents after watching consumers ignore their service for two years. And note that Apple’s iPhone, for now, isn’t even bothering to try to sell consumers music over the air…

Related: eMusic’s Mobile Mistake

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