Napster announced an alliance yesterday with German independent music label, Edel Music to promote a new membership-based business model under development by Napster.

Edel Music will master recordings and musical compositions it owns or controls to be used in Napster's membership-based file-sharing service, according to officials at Napster.

Edel will also advise Napster on issues regarding artists, songwriters, and record and publishing companies, Napster officials said. In addition, beginning in February of this year, selected Edel artists will be promoted through Napster's Featured Music Program, which introduces new artists to Napster users.

Officials at Napster said the company has developed a new business model for a membership-based service that provides Napster users with high-quality file sharing while at the same time issuing payments to rights holders, such as recording artists, songwriters, and recording companies.

Last October, Bertelsmann and Napster formed an alliance to develop Napster's new file sharing service.