The company has laid off another 30 staff, the third round of redundancies since last October...

NAPSTER, the online file-swapping service that at one time appeared to threaten the future of the conventional music industry, has lurched into more trouble with news that it has laid off 30 staff.

The troubled business has yet to relaunch after being legally forced offline in July 2001 for copyright infringements. The current staff cuts are the third round to be implemented in just a few months.

Sixteen people were made redundant last October, with a further 10% of the staff let go in March. It is unclear how many remain following the new announcement.

Despite the setbacks, Napster say they are committed to getting back online and providing a fee-pay service.

“We have full confidence that our remaining team can provide the strategic know-how and technical guidance to effectively prepare for the launch of the new service,” Konran Hilbers the Chief Executive told the BBC. However, because of technical problems and legal wrangles over the music it can host, the launch may not come until the end of 2002.