Best Buy-owned Napster ponders location-based music services

Newly bought out by Best Buy, Web-based music maven Napster is now looking into delivering location-based services such as notifying Best Buy customers on their cell phones about local concerts, said Napster's CEO, speaking at CES last night.

Addressing an audience at a CES mobile forum, Napster CEO Brad Duea pointed to a study by JupiterMedia analysts showing that, of all location-based services they'd most like to use, music -- at 11 percent -- is topped only by weather, at 14 percent.

Last spring, he noted, Apple took away a major "pain point" and greatly expanded Napster's potential mobile market by resolving compatibility issues between its iPhone and iPod platforms and Napster.

Where Napster's new owner Best Buy focuses on "what the customer really wants and needs," Napster will follow suit with its location-based music services, according to Napter's CEO.

Specifically, Napster is exploring ideas such as identifying when customers come in to the store and then electronically sending them discount coupons and alerts about music for sale in the store and concerts in the local area, based on user preferences.

"'The Killers' are going to be playing locally. Do you want to buy tickets now, right over there?" he illustrated.

Another possibility is to distribute electronic maps of the store showing where music is located. Alerts might also include notifications that the Geek Squad has just finished repairing the customer's PC, for example, Duea told the CES audience.

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