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Servers For Music Will Relieve Online Downloading

IBM and online-music provider Napster have unveiled a new music-downloading application that calls for music to be stored on IBM servers near consumers rather than on the Internet.

By storing the most popular songs on eServer BladeCenter systems, users who distribute large streams of music can save significantly on bandwidth costs, the firms told the Reuters news service Wednesday. "We're working with a number of leaders globally," said IBM's vice president of digital media solutions Warren Hart in a statement. "This whole area of how to take rich media and use it for real business value is very critical to us."

Napster and IBM pointed to the online music programs at Penn State University and the University of Rochester as ideal locations for the new application. Bill Pence, Napster's chief technology officer, has said Penn State's daily Napster usage is about 100,000 downloads, with 90 percent of that total capable of being stored on IBM blade servers. Bandwidth savings could be about $50,000 in the first year of use.

IBM has been in the vanguard of the digital-rights management field and has teamed up with the record industry for years, working to give copyright holders control over their songs and media.

Napster, which is owned by Roxio Inc., launched its online music program at Penn State last fall. The university's payment to Napster is buried in students' regular fees. The university calls its pioneering program with Napster a model for other colleges and universities to follow.

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