Study: Napster use down since song blocking began

Wednesday, May 2nd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Napster use has plunged 41 percent since the online company added song-screening technology to comply with a federal court order, according to an Internet researcher.

Users downloaded 1.6 billion songs in April, a sharp decline from 2.8 billion in February, according to Matt Bailey, an analyst with Cambridge, Mass.-based Webnoize.

``It is now very difficult to get to material that has been blocked by Napster,'' Bailey said Wednesday.

Napster's programming allows users to share and trade songs stored on computers linked by the Internet. The new screening technology was put in place during an ongoing legal dispute with the recording industry.

In February, there were 1.6 million people logged on to Napster at any given time. In April, there were just over 1 million _ and they were trading a smaller selection of music, Bailey said.

Napster did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The Recording Industry Association of America, which sued Redwood City-based Napster for copyright infringement, said the report does not prove the company is fulfilling its part of the judge's order to remove copyrighted works from its site.

Bailey found that users downloaded almost 2.5 billion music files in March, with users sharing 220 files on average. By April, the number of files shared among users dropped more than an 80 percent, to 37.