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It's Free MP3 Album Giveaway Week at EMusic

Online music download site EMusic.com (Nasdaq: EMUS), says it is extending an olive branch to Napster fans this week by inviting them to try its MP3 download service for free. The offer comes as Napster is expected to purge about 135,000 songs from its online song swapping service by this Wednesday.

Starting today for one week only, music fans can download any MP3 album - or up to 15 MP3 singles - from EMusic's downloadable music catalog, for free with no commitment to buy anything else. The download requires you either use RealJukeBox or FreeAmp.

Ironically, it was Redwood City-based EMusic that recently filed charges against Napster claiming it violated not only copyright infringement but also unfair competition practices because Napster's service is free. EMusic charges start at $9.99 a month for its "Unlimited" service.

"With Napster's pending changes, digital music fans will have very few convenient, fast and reliable sources for quality MP3s," says EMusic president and CEO Gene Hoffman. "Underground networks and unauthorized FTP sites can be fraught with slow downloads, broken links and even viruses. We are proposing a digital music service that compensates musicians and copyright holders while not sacrificing consumer benefits."

EMusic.com features top artists in musical genres, including Alternative, Rock, Jazz, Hip Hop, Jazz and Country. But, don't expect to get the latest titles from this week's free offer. Because EMusic has contracts with the record labels, popular albums from Metallica, Brittany Spears and Eminem are off limits unless you sign-up for EMusic's monthly service.

The free stuff hovers more around titles you'd find in the bargain basement bins. Although if you don't already have Rod Stewart's "Old Borrowed & Blues 1964-66," you might want to download it from the site.

You also may want to make sure you have a high-speed connection when you download as some of the albums and tracks will eat up your bandwidth.