Beyond a logo and providing access to an awful lot of music, modern Napster has little in common with its cutting-edge but legally dubious roots. Unlike Napster’s peer-to-peer origins, this legitimate paid-for streaming service is essentially a rebadged Rhapsody. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it’s more unadventurous and staid than rebellious – but that’s what happens when you grow up.
Once again, you’re paying a tenner a month for access to enough music to choke a thousand DJs. Tracks can, as ever, be found using a search field, transformed into algorithmically generated radio stations, and downloaded to play offline (optionally automatically for favourites).
Despite Naspter’s boast of 40 million tracks, we found some holes in the catalogue – for example, Wire debut Pink Flag is inexplicably absent, and Trentemøller’s Last Resort has apparently gone AWOL.
But playback seems solid, and the app on all platforms neatly enables you to adjust the bit-rate for mobile and Wi-Fi usage – individually in each case for streaming and downloading. (It’s worth checking these options right away, because the initial settings are conservative.)