The trouble with Napster

Napster_1Napster is having all sorts of trouble with its new ad campaign. Its Super Bowl commercial, to put it mildly, sucked. (It finished dead last in USA Today’s rankings, a full six spots behind the repulsive Quiznos ad with Baby Bob.) Then the other day, Howard Stern flubbed a paid on-air endorsement for Napster’s subscription model—accidentally mentioning the iPod. (“You get tired of some songs,” Stern said. “Like that song ‘Get the Party Started.’ I don’t want that in my iPod now or my MP3 player.”) But maybe the problems are more than executional. One stated strategy of the campaign is to be bad-tempered. (“We’re going to be communicating to people that it’s stupid to buy an iPod,” Napster CEO Chris Gorog said recently.) And what of the tagline, “Do the math”? That’s problematic, too. We’ve done the math. Cost of Napster today: $15 a month. Cost in 2000, when most of us got to know the service: $0.

—Posted by Tim Nudd