In what may seem like a last stand, Napster has planned two major Washington D.C. events — a forum with Chuck D and Napster founder Shawn Fanning, and a free concert from Boston-based band Dispatch — to coincide with next Tuesday’s Senate Judiciary’s Committee hearing on digital music. The hearing will look at the pros and cons of downloading and swapping music through the Web.
On Monday (April 2), Fanning and Chuck D will lead a 90-minute, open-to-the-public conference on the issues plaguing Napster at the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. Napster is then asking its supporters to gather at a D.C. restaurant on Tuesday morning to show its support for the file-trading service.
That evening, reggae-influenced funk band Dispatch will perform a free concert for 1,000 people at the 9:30 Club. Admission will be limited to those who signed-up at the pre-hearing gathering in the morning. The concert will be broadcast live (9 p.m., EST) on the Digital Club Network.
The controversial file swapping company has also partnered with a TV network for the first time, with a unique music promotion. Napster and the Burly Bear Network — a cable TV channel available on more than 565 U.S. college campuses — have joined forces with Palm Pictures to promote music by Irish rock band Skindive, whose self-titled debut is due Tuesday (April 3) on Palm.
Napster and Burly Bear are prominently featuring Skindive and the band’s first single, “Tranquilizer,” on their Web sites, which include links to the music video and an exclusive Napster remix of the song. The promotion, which continues through April 5, includes commercials on the Burly Bear network and a street marketing campaign for Skindive.
Burly Bear claims that to reach more than 5 million people; Napster counts its registered users at 70 million.
Earlier this week, the Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) said Napster was defying a federal injunction against it by using crude technology to filter unauthorized songs from its service. Napster says it has successfully blocked access to more than 275,000 songs.