Napster reports 270,000 paid subscribers to its on-demand digital-music service as of Dec. 31, 2004, the end of its fiscal third quarter.

Napster reports 270,000 paid subscribers to its on-demand digital-music service as of Dec. 31, 2004, the end of its fiscal third quarter.

That figure -- which includes 44,000 subscriptions under Napster's university program -- marks a 50% increase over its second-quarter subscriber figures from October, the company says.

Los Angeles-based Napster will announce its third-quarter financial results on Feb. 9.

Looking at some of the company's rivals, AOL says it now has more than 350,000 subscribers for its MusicNet subscription service. RealNetworks claimed 625,000 digital-music subscribers at the end of its third quarter in October 2004, but that number includes subscription radio products in addition to its Rhapsody on-demand music service. MusicMatch, at the time of its acquisition by Yahoo! last year, was claiming 225,000 combined subscribers to its premium radio and on-demand offerings.

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