Online music vendor Napster Inc. formed a partnership with computer maker Dell Inc. to offer a digital music download service to university students.
Dell, based in Round Rock, Texas, said it will sell subscriptions to Los Angeles-based Napster’s digital music service to colleges and universities at a discount rate. Dell will install its blade servers at client universities to increase the amount of bandwidth available for legal music downloads. The University of Washington has signed up to get the service in fall.
The deal is meant to address two problems that have arisen from the popularity of digital music downloads on university campuses: lost revenues for music companies and stress on college computer networks.
The Recording Industry Association of America has filed more than 12,000 complaints over illegal downloads since 2003. Napster’s software, once a popular tool for illegal downloads, is now a legal, paid service.
The leader in the legal downloading market is Apple Computer Inc.’s iTunes service, which can only be used with Apple’s iPod device. Napster’s service works with devices made by other computer makers, and will also be available through wireless telephone carriers using systems built by Sweden’s Ericsson AB.