Roxio yesterday (Oct. 9) said it plans to launch the new version of Napster on Oct. 29. The company also unveiled a new Napster-branded digital music player from Samsung Electronics, designed to go he

Roxio yesterday (Oct. 9) said it plans to launch the new version of Napster on Oct. 29. The company also unveiled a new Napster-branded digital music player from Samsung Electronics, designed to go head-to-head with Apple Computer's line of iPod devices.

As reported yesterday, the new Napster will feature an a la carte download store with 500,000-plus tracks. Individual tracks will cost 99 cents; albums on average will cost $9.95.

Napster, which is built off the Pressplay technology platform acquired by Roxio earlier this year, also will offer a subscription package of unlimited monthly tethered downloads and on-demand streams for $9.95. In addition, it will stress "community" elements, such as message boards and the ability to view the music collections of other subscribers. Subscribers will be able to "share" music through E-mail. Napster users will also be able to E-mail 30-second clips of tracks to non-subscribers.

Napster subscribers will have access to 40 interactive radio stations. Radio playlists will be burnable to CD. Usage rights for purchased downloads are in line with those of other services: individual tracks can be burned an unlimited number of times, but a playlist can be burned only five times.

Napster will offer users its own software client through Napster.com. The site is now accepting pre-registrations; those who register early will receive five free downloads.

Meanwhile, the portable device from Samsung will go on sale at Best Buy stores Oct. 19. The 20 GB player -- which can hold more than 5,000 songs and includes an FM radio tuner -- will cost $399, the same as the comparable iPod.

In related news, look for an announcement on the Windows version of Apple's iTunes Music Store on Oct. 16. The company would not comment, but it is sending invitations to an event that day in San Francisco saying that "the year's biggest music story is about to get even bigger." The company has sold more than 10 million downloads through its iTunes Music Store for Macintosh since that service debuted in April.