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Napster UK song sheet passes 1m mark

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Napster today claimed its UK digital music store offers over 1m tracks - the first time a company has said it has reached that milestone in this country.

Napster UK launched in May this year with a catalogue of around 500,000 songs. The UK incarnation of Apple's iTunes Music Store launched the following month with a 700,000-track database, but Napster was able to reach a similar figure that month, too.

In August, iTunes passed the 1m-song mark in the US, but Apple has yet to say how far the UK's song tally has stretched. When it launched its multi-nation store for Austria, Belgium, Finland, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal and Spain in October, Apple said those stores would initially offer 700,000 songs.

Simply by adding tracks on a week by week basis since June, iTunes UK should be well above that figure by now. However, Apple did not respond to our request for an up-to-date figure. Its UK website still states the total is 700,000.

That leaves Napster potentially well ahead of its rival. Certainly it has a strong lead over other services, such as Sony Connect, Woolworths and Tesco, all of whom launched at around the 500,000-song mark. The last two launched earlier this month, so will have had little opportunity to expand thei catalogues by significant amounts. Not so Sony Connect, now in its fifth month of operation in the UK. However, despite "adding new material every day", according to a company spokeswoman, officially the service's ATRAC 3-encoded catalogue remains at 500,000 songs. ®

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