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Dissolved music site making a comeback

Roxio pushes for Napster relaunch

Digital-media company Roxio yesterday snapped up online music subscription service Pressplay, in its first step towards launching a new online service under the failed Napster brand.

The deal follows Roxio's purchase of the remaining assets of fallen net music pioneer Napster — cash and stock estimated at $39.5m (£24m).

Napster was ordered offline in 2001 amid copyright infringement complaints by the big record labels. The labels have since set about promoting their own online music services, albeit with little success.

Pressplay was formed by Vivendi Universal and Sony Music Entertainment at about the same time that Bertelsmann, AOL Time Warner,EMI and RealNetworks backed rival service MusicNet.

With Pressplay and Napster assets now under Roxio's belt, the company said in a statement that it intends to resurrect "the most powerful brand in the online music space".

Pressplay gives its catalogue rights to all five major labels as well as a digital music distribution infrastructure.

Under the terms of the deal, Roxio purchased majority ownership in Pressplay for $12.5m (£7.6m) in cash and 3.9 million shares of Roxio common stock, based on Friday's closing price. Additionally, the contract states that Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group each have the right to earn $6.25m (£3.8m) based on positive cashflows from the new Napster service.

The new Napster is set to go up against Apple's iTunes online music store, launched last month, which has so far reported strong demand.

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