Circuit City pacts with Napster

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Denver — Circuit City is getting into the digital music business through a deal with Napster.

Under the agreement, Napster will operate a digital music service called Circuit City + Napster, to be available through the Circuit City Web site.

Essentially, the service will look and feel just like the regular Napster service but contain Circuit City branding. It will be both a subscription and a la carte download service featuring the same costs: $15 a month for subscription and 99 cents a song for downloads.

Circuit City will sell prepaid download cards in stores nationwide for packs of 15, 25 or 60 tracks. The service goes live April 29.

This is Circuit City's second go at the digital music game. The company owned and ran the MusicNow subscription service, which it sold to AOL in 2005. AOL subsequently disbanded the MusicNow service in favor of an outsourcing relationship with Napster.

Best Buy last year partnered with Rhapsody for a digital music service that also features the Sansa Rhapsody device, as well as prepaid download cards in stores.

Wal-Mart has an a la carte download service powered by Liquid Digital Media. Target last year stepped away from plans to launch a music subscription service with Loudeye over issues related to music licensing.

Antony Bruno is a contributor to Billboard.
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