The website has now reached a fifth day of no-service due to problems stemming from the introduction of new technology...

As NAPSTER heads for a fifth day of no-service (July 6) – the longest in the file sharing application’s short, meteoric rise – the company has posted a message on its website admitting they don’t know how long the break will last.

All file transfers were blocked on Monday (July 6). Napster blamed problems stemming from the introduction of new technology. The technology being introduced will allow acoustic fingerprinting to identify tracks and so won’t rely on user-defined names, which had made it easier for fans to swap copyrighted material. Napster were legally obliged to introduce the change or face being shut down completely.

The statement explaining the situation reads: “Napster’s goal is to start file transfers again as soon as possible, but we can’t yet give a precise time. This is a brand-new technology, and we’re still fine-tuning all the parts. Napster’s engineers have been hard at work on resolving the database problem. Once this problem is worked out, file transfers will start again.”

Following a deal signed last week with a conglomerate of European independent labels, Napster are also at work in introducing technology to allow subscription paying users access to entire catalogue of artists such as Stereophonics, Moby, Slipknot, Underworld and Basement Jaxx.

The company insist this will go ahead as planned at an unspecified time during the summer.

However, media analysts have warned that the longer the shutdown lasts the greater the implications for Napster’s long-term future.

“Clearly the value of their brand is around their community,” Bruce Kasrel, a senior media and entertainment analyst for Forrester Research told MTV. “The longer they wait to turn on their [service], the smaller the community will get.”

One advantage for Napster is the closing of the shutdown. The majority of users are university and college students currently on summer holiday.

“If they’re [still] offline in September, they’re in very deep trouble,” Kasrel added.