Roxio purchases Napster's remains for $5 million

Roxio, known mainly for its CD-burning software, is getting its fingers into as many pies as possible before that core business is completely commoditized by OS vendors. (Toast remains useful if you’re making hybrid CDs for commercial products, but otherwise I find that the stuff that comes with Mac OS X and Windows XP do everything I need.)

This morning, Roxio announced that it’s buying the assets (but not the outstanding liabilities, of course) of bankrupt file-sharing service Napster. Basically, this means they’re buying Napster’s file-trading client/server software and promising t-shirt business.

Once the transaction is approved by the bankrupcy courrt, Roxio president and CEO Chris Gorog promised that he will “provide consumers and investors with a strategic vision of how Napster will expand Roxio’s role in the digital-media landscape, and enhance our offerings to consumers”. Duh. As if we haven’t figured out that the plan is to monetize music-related file-trading.

Can they do it? No. They’ll be going up against MusicNet and Pressplay, ventures owned by the labels themselves. Although I have no doubt that labels will license their content to Roxio (if just to avoid accusations that the services are a duopoly), it’s unlikely that they’re going to let Roxio gain a significant foothold in digital music distribution. This smells like a “bet the company” move, and I’m betting against them. | Roxio press release