Napster to team up with Dixons

Retail giant to detail tie-in this week

Napster will this week announce a partnership with UK high street electronics chain Dixons in a bid to raise its market profile ahead of its anticipated British launch this summer.

Details of the tie-in are unclear, with sources simply pointing to some kind of deal between the two companies, a Sunday Times report indicated this past weekend.

Napster presumably hopes to profit from such a deal through in-store promos and pre-loaded links to its website on PCs sold by Dixons. Dixons may use Napster to help push not only PCs but digital music players compatible with the online service.

It could even offer music itself through a re-branded Napster front end. Napster has shown itself to be keen on such a deal, which mirrors HP's tie-in with Apple's iTunes Music Store.

Dixons' parent, the Dixons Stores Group, which also own Currys, PC World and The Link, last week announced the closure of 106 high street stores - almost a third of its total - in a bid to focus on larger, out-of-town retail sites.

Chris Gorog, CEO of Napster parent Roxio, last month said the song service was still on track to launch "before the end of summer", despite difficulties experienced in licensing the content it needs from the major labels.

That launch will pitch the company not only against a number of home-grown services, but the likes of Apple and Sony, which will open the doors on its Connect online store in June. ®

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