NAPSTER IS BACK!

Two years after its shutdown and collapse, the file-sharing application is back...

Revolutionary Internet file-swapping service NAPSTER is relaunching today (October 9), two years after it was shut down and then collapsed.

The service, that at one time had the entire music industry crippled with fear, launched a test service just over an hour ago (10.30am EST) in New York ahead of a full roll-out on October 29.

Now branded as Napster 2.0, the original website once boasted 60million users worldwide. It was forced to close when the big hitters of the US record industry began to circle. Led byMetallica, labels and bands started legal action for copyright infringements. A judge ordered the site to close until it could remove all illegal files. It immediately began making plans to re-launch as a fee-paying site, but it went into freefall and the name was bought by digital media company Roxio last year for $5m (£2.9m).

Roxio also brought in Napster founder Shawn Fanning as a consultant. They hope the Napster name will give them a leg-up an over-crowded market. They have also tied up a deal with Microsoft to be included on its next media package.

The Napster website says the service will offer 500,000 songs for download. They will charge 99 cents for single tracks and $9.95 for albums.

Though online music sales account for just 1% of total sales at present, this is expected to grow to 12% within five years – eating up $1.5billion a year.

Napster, while once the king, music now compete with a host of other applications including itunes and Kazaa.