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Spice Girls tune in to Napster

Album sneaks onto MP3 service ahead to worldwide release date

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The Spice Girls - remember them? - saw their new album released two weeks early this week, when its eleven tracks made an unauthorised appearance on controversial MP3 sharing service Napster, we hear.

Terrible stuff, we're sure, but there are enough pre-pubertal girls and spotty, adolescent males who like this stuff [Damn, he's provoked a flame war - Ed] and will be grabbing the likes of Holler, Get Down With Me, If You Wanna Have Some Fun and the aptly-named Wasting My Time, even as we speak.

But the question remains: how did the album get onto Napster. Spice Girls fan sites allege that no one is to blame but the Girls' own record company, Virgin, and its online music partner, RealNetworks.

The RealPlayer Network apparently showcases four tracks as part of a RealAudio 8 promo here. Alas someone at Virgin appears to have uploaded all the album's tracks, and clever users figured out their URLs from the promo'd tracks locations and the album's already-published tracklist.

A number of downloads and a Real-to-MP3 conversion later, and the tracks appeared on Napster. ®

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