Circuit City, Napster to offer music service

The Napster "Cat" logo is shown on the floor at a launch event for the new Napster online music service, in this October 9, 2003 file photo in New York City. Retail chain Circuit City and Web music service Napster said on Friday they would jointly offer a subscription service with access to millions of songs, the latest effort to compete with Apple Inc.'s popular iTunes music store. REUTERS/Jeff Christensen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Retail chain Circuit City CC.N and Web music service Napster NAPS.O said on Friday they will jointly offer a subscription service with millions of songs, the latest effort to compete with Apple Inc.'s AAPL.O iTunes music store.

The new service will begin on April 29 with a subscription cost of $14.95 per month. Consumers will also be able to buy individual songs at 99 cents each.

U.S. electronics chains and Web music services have sought new ways to team up and compete with iTunes, which has more than 80 percent of the U.S. market. Circuit City is the second-largest U.S. specialty electronics retailer.

In October, Best Buy Co. BBY.N introduced a music player and subscription service with partners SanDisk Corp. SNDK.O and RealNetworks Inc. RNWK.O.

Napster’s share price has got a boost in recent weeks from its renewed focus on building a customer base through partnerships with third parties.

Earlier this month, Napster said it would beat revenue expectations after integrating more than 225,000 AOL Music Now paid subscribers into its service. That acquisition brought Napster’s total subscriber base to 830,000.

AOL, the Internet unit of Time Warner Inc. TWX.N, originally bought Circuit City's online music service in 2005. After agreeing to sell AOL Music Now to Napster in January, AOL said it would switch Circuit City's Music Now accounts to Napster unless customers opted out.

Napster shares slipped 3 cents to $4.08 on Nasdaq. Circuit City gained 42 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $18.65.