Napster goes directly after competitor in its recent marketing effort

LOS ANGELES: Napster is naming names in the latest marketing campaign for its digital music service.

LOS ANGELES: Napster is naming names in the latest marketing campaign for its digital music service.

The company is pointing out the cost of using Apple's popular iTunes service, where users buy albums or songs. With Napster's service, users can download an unlimited number of songs to their computer or MP3 player for $14.95 a month. Users must pay an additional fee if they want to burn songs to CDs.

The campaign points out that to fill an iPod with songs, users might have to spend as much as $10,000, as songs on iTunes cost 99 cents each.

"Trying to explain digital music is tough enough," explained Dana Harris, director of corporate communications. "We wanted to show that we're a major player, and we're not afraid of (Apple). For good or bad, people know what iTunes is."

But by showing that iTunes shoppers must buy their music to listen to it, Napster hopes that digital music aficionados will be interested in Napster's alternative, where users lease unlimited music for one monthly fee, instead of buying it one song or album at a time.

But many companies have tried to take on Apple's dominance in the digital music market and failed. What Napster wants to show is that there is more than one way to listen to digital music, said Harris.

"You can go back and forth on price all you want, but what we offer is a different value proposition," said Harris. "iTunes doesn't offer what we offer."

Napster, working with its agency Rogers & Cowan, is targeting early adopters and digital music enthusiasts who can become influencers and evangelists of the service. Napster is also reaching out to a mix of consumer, business, and trade media.

"We need that validation," said Harris. "This is a huge undertaking. We're trying to change the way people experience [digital] music."

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