Penn State to bring Napster to dorms

Branden Peterson

The digital music revolution on the Internet will spin a new tune with Pennsylvania State University students in January – and this time it will be a legal one.

The Big Ten university announced an agreement last week with the reborn file-sharing service Napster, giving students access to thousands of songs provided by the service at no cost.

Once available for free, Napster is now a corporate division of Roxio, Inc., and charges members who use the program to download or stream music.

With a close eye on the program’s success at Penn State, University officials will likely not look into a similar program until they know how well the partnership works out.

“We’d like to see what other people are doing and see what the impact is before we jump on the bandwagon,” said deputy chief information officer Shih-Pau Yen, from Academic and Distributed Computing Services.

Yen said the University will not look into the issue for at least six months.

Although Penn State officials would not release how much the university will pay the file-sharing service, Napster will be paid out of a $160 technology fee all students pay.

The student fee will not increase after the pilot program begins on campus Jan. 12, the first day of spring semester.

The launch will provide Napster’s 500,000-song library, 40 radio stations and other features to the 18,000 Penn State students who live in residence halls on 12 campuses. The program will broaden to include the rest of the university’s 83,000 on- and off- campus students by next fall, Kendig said.

Students will be able to see music charts, or listen to radio stations or thousands of songs for free. But students will have to pay 99 cents per song or $9.95 per album if they want to permanently download a copy.

While Penn State will be the first university to work with the file-sharing program, the organization is discussing similar agreements with several other universities, Napster spokesman Seth Oster said.

Millions of college students -including those at the University – have access to high-speed Internet connections that can rapidly search, download or share files across the Internet.