Napster is apparently changing its business model in an attempt to turn a profit. They will now allow a user to play songs five times before they are required to buy it or become a Napster subscriber.

It’s not a bad idea, but it does not address the fundamental problems with subscription models, that I have previously commented on.

Two further details that are evident from the boilerplate at the bottom of the Napster website:

Only US residents can play full length songs. To view all of our Website Terms, please click HERE. You may play any particular song up to five (5) times, after which you will need to subscribe to Napster or purchase the track to play that full song again. To buy a track or subscribe, you will need to download our player software.

As to the first point, the FAQ elaborates:

The Napster free service is currently only available in the United States. We are working hard at expanding the free service to all Napster service territories. Until then, all users outside of the U.S. can preview 30-second clips of any song in our extensive music catalog.

If you are in the United Kingdom, Canada or Germany, the Napster subscription service is available in your country.

As to the second point — I won’t sign up to find out, but any requirement to use a proprietary player would not bode well for the site’s success.