Wired News: iPod and New Napster Aren't Speaking

Someone should be saying, "Oops!" right about now; according to Wired News, iPod owners wonit be able to use the new Napster 2 music service that was recently unveiled. Thatis because just like all the other non-iTunes Music Store (iTMS) music download services, music from Napster 2 will only come in Microsoftis Windows Media Audio (WMA) format, not MPEG Audio Layer 3 (MP3) or Advanced Audio Coding (AAC). The latter are the 2 compressed music formats that the iPod supports. In other words, Napster 2, which is expected to offer the iTMS enormous competition, isnit compatible with the worldis #1 digital music player. From the Wired article, New Napster, iPod Donit Play Nice:

The incompatibility problem may confuse customers and could detract from the success of the new service.

Mike McGuire, research director with GartnerG2, said that fiddling around with different file formats could be discouraging to consumers.

"If online music is going to require me to look at an option plan that is going to be as complex as your average cell-phone plan, none of this is going to work," said McGuire. "Online music, then, is still a niche.

"Until the majority of consumers decide which format they like the best, weire going to see the same struggle," he said.

Napster 2.0 is joining an ever-growing field of paid music services like Musicmatch and BuyMusic.com. These download services offer songs in Windows Media Audio, or WMA, format, the same format used by Napster.

Appleis iPod, on the other hand, plays songs that use the Advanced Audio Coding , or AAC, specification. Napsteris files, then, are incompatible with the iPod.

Of course, the iPod plays a variety of other formats, including MP3 files and uncompressed audio file formats such as AIFF and WAV.

Read the full story at Wiredis Web site.