Dell has announced a new program to bring discounted Napster digital music subscriptions, Dell servers, and Dell portable music players to colleges and universities in the United States. The program augments Napster’s existing collegiate digital music program, which currently serves 13 universities, and the University of Washington will be the first institution up and running under the new program this fall.
Like other major online music distributors, Napster currently offers a library of more than 1 million available for legal music downloads from both major and independent record labels.
The program brings together Napster’s digital music download service with Dell’s PowerEdge 1855 blade servers. Educational institutions subscribe to the Napster service at a discount, then install the servers on their internal networks and use Napster’s SuperPeer application to distribute Napster’s music library locally. Putting Napster’s music library in campus data centers reduces latency and enables a greater number of students to use the service simultaneously, while avoiding many of the security pitfalls of popular peer-to-peer file-sharing services.
Dell also plans to offer discounted computer systems, electronics, and digital media players to program participants.
Educational institutions may apparently pass along the cost of the Napster service to student any way they wish, although participants in Napster’s existing Napster On Campus program tend to permit students unlimited streaming and tethered downloads, rather than bearing the costs of managing billing and subscription minutia on a student-by-student basis.