Disappointed By Napster

When Napster was first released several years ago (the current legal version, not the P2P version), I began using it as a Napster Light member, i.e, I paid for my tracks individually which meant I owned them (like you do with itunes), and not the subscription service. They were of course, and still are, encoded with DRM.

Now, if you replace / format your computer, the only way to reset the DRM license so that the tracks will still work is to re-download them from Napster. Copying the files from your old install or a backup will not work, nor will playing the original files from their original location using a different partition and Windows installation (i.e. I have a dual boot of Vista and Windows 7, and I can't play the Napster files from my Vista partition when running Windows 7, which is all I use now).

The original release of the software allowed you to re-download all of your tracks in one go by simply clicking a 'Download All' button. They updated their software around a year ago however and removed the 'Download All' button, instead requiring you to individually download every track separately.

Now, that is fine if you have only purchased a handful of tracks from them, but if like me you purchased pretty much every song you wanted from them for a period of several years, then it is totally infeasible to sit there and click the download button next to each individual track, which in my case is nearly 1000 songs.

I have contacted Napster asking for an alternative method hoping to either update the licenses on the files I already have, or re-download them all in one go. Their response was that this is not possible and I would have to download each one individually, but they would forward my suggestion of a 'download all' button to their development team.

I waited several weeks, then contacted them again asking for an update as to the implementation of this method. I was told that they had no time scale of when this would be done, and that it will probably not be until the next software update (which I suspect could very well be more than a year!).

I feel very disappointed with Napster. I chose to buy my music legally from them in a time when the vast majority of people would download it for free from P2P networks, and now feel that I've been brushed aside and locked out from the music I've bought. I think anyone would agree that scrolling through a list and pressing almost 1000 download buttons is not a reasonable method to retrieve it.

I don't know what to do next. Should I just bite the bullet and spend an afternoon doing that? Or does anyone have any advice that may persuade Napster to actually do something about it? I'm sure there will be people out there that have purchased many more tracks than I have, and will be in an even worse position if they ever have to wipe their computer!


  ton 00:32 19 Jun 2009

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