In a bid to win subscribers Napster is offering free digital-music players with a one-year subscription.

The device on offer is the Rio Chiba Sport, which costs $130 (about £70) and can store 128 megabytes of music. The year's subscription to Napster costs $119.40.

American Technology Research analyst PJ McNealy told Reuters: "This is another example of Napster trying to be creative to drive subscriptions.

"While Roxio has forecast up to $40 million in Napster revenues this year we believe that they really have to reach close to $300 million to break even and reaching that goal will likely not happen in the next 12 months."

Napster recently signed a deal with Toshiba in the USA under which Toshiba will install Napster on all of its consumer machines. The UK office of Toshiba has confirmed they have no plans to work with Napster here.