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As it prepares to launch a paid download service this summer, Napster has announced the acquisition of Gigabeat, a technology firm that could enable the new service to recommend songs to members. Napster said it will use Gigabeat’s technology to develop the service by July and to help comply with a court injunction requiring the controversial song-swapping service to block downloads of copyrighted material. Gigabeat’s 15 to 20 employees have joined Redwood City, Calif.-based Napster. Financial terms of the deal, structured as an asset acquisition, were not disclosed. Gigabeat, based in Palo Alto, Calif., has developed a large music database and a technology that mines that database to recommend music to users. As online distribution of music evolves, such recommendation technology is likely to be a key component of subscription services like the one Napster is developing. In addition, Gigabeat has developed music-search and song-file identification tools that could come in handy for Napster as it struggles to satisfy the court injunction. Napster has received a $60 million loan from German media conglomerate Bertelsmann to build anti-piracy features into its software. Copyright � 2001 The Industry Standard

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