Digital music file-sharing service Napster joined forces yesterday with Edel Music AG, the world’s second-largest independent music label.
Under terms of the agreement, the Germany-based music label will allow master recordings and musical compositions it owns or controls to be used for file sharing under the new fee-based service that Napster is developing. Starting next month, selected edel artists will be promoted through Napster’s featured music program, which showcases new music and artists.
Napster was founded in 1999 by college freshman Shawn Fanning as a free file-sharing service for music fans. The Recording Industry Association of America, the member organization of major U.S.-based record labels, sued Napster for mass copyright infringement.
In October, music giant Bertelsmann AG said it would help Napster fund the development of a membership-fee-based service. Bertelsmann claimed it would drop its portion of the RIAA lawsuit once a membership fee model was introduced. Bertelsmann also said it would encourage other RIAA member companies to follow its lead.