Napster is to use acoustic fingerprinting technology to pave the way for an artists royalty-payment scheme, and to filter copyrighted material from its service.

Napster will use Relatable's This Recognizes Music (TRM) software to help monitor and filter copyrighted material on the Napster database, and to identify files to ensure royalty payments are made to the artists.

Napster is the first company to license Relatable's TRM software, said Relatable CEO Pat Breslin.

The software recognizes the sound from the music files and will identify the artist and track name, eliminating the need to physically read incorrect file names that appear on the system.

Customized solution Napster and Relatable Engineers are working together to customize the TRM software for Napster's needs, but no date has been set, said a Napster spokesman.

"This technology alone will probably not be enough to remedy Napster's filtering and royalty challenges, but it is a start," said the Napster spokesman. "Napster will probably end up using a number of different programs to get the desired result."

Digital-entertainment analysts Webnoize says TRM technology could put Napster on track to trace MP3-trading across the Napster server – but that it may take months to implement the system.

Napster chose Relatable's software because it has the "best potential to scale and handle the volume and speed Napster needs", said the Napster spokesman. "Ideally, the addition of this software shouldn't alter the user experience."

Breslin described the licensing contract with Napster as an "important deal" for his company. "The software was created for music networks of all sizes, and it is exciting to be working with one as large as Napster."