A long time coming but Napster has expanded its customer base by opening up a German version of its digital music service. It was always in the business plan but the surprise was how long it’s taken the DMS to launch there. The German market has been especially hard hit by illegal digital copying and sharing. How bad? Well put it this way, most bricks and mortar music retailers devote about 25% of their floorspace to burnable CDS, yes 25% that how much burning is going on. iTunes is already there but is facing some serious competition from MusicLoad and AOL Music, which built its own solution and offers a slick one click buying service that ties into your billing for the internet service. Sadly, not something that AOL has repeated elsewhere yet. Germany has been overtaken by the UK in terms of sales but the German market is/was almost entirely a la carte downloads (7.5 million last year), Napster is the first sub service on offer.

Napster Germany charges Euros 9.95 a month for standard subscription, Euros 14.95 for the portable subscription Napster To Go and single song sales from a catalogue of 1.5 million are Euro 0.99 each. In line with standard practice, you can only access the service from within Germany, heaven forfend that you might want to shop for some Deutsch toons.

UPDATE (20/12)
However, it seems that Napster Germany will have to run without one of the major labels as EMI has pulled its content from the service citing unhappiness with the labels cut of revenues.