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Napster opens Canadian outpost

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Napster rolled out its online music service out to Canadian consumers yesterday, announcing an exclusive, "multi-year" tie-in with Molson to provide the brewer with song downloads.

The move was signalled last week when the company launched its UK service - the UK software CDs also show Napster's www.napster.ca URL.

Like the UK launch, the debut of the Canadian service puts Napster ahead of its chief rival, Apple's iTunes Music Store, which currently only serves US customers.

But yesterday's announcement highlights the problems all music download market players face in building an international business. Napster currently offers 500,000 songs to UK consumers, but their Canadian colleagues can choose from only 300,000 songs.

Napster Canada has licences from the big five labels as well as indies.

Like the UK, Canada will be offered a seven-day free trial of Napster's subscription service, which is what the company appears keener to sell that pure-play downloads. Subscribers pay CN$9.95 a month for unlimited downloads and access to the service's ten 'radio' stations. Non-subscribers can download songs for CN$1.19 a go, or in album-length batches for CN$9.95. ®

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