Napster has said that a growing array of music-enabled cell phones should help grow the business. Analysts also pointed to its partnership with NTT DoCoMo (DCM - Get Report), Japan's largest wireless carrier, which will sell handsets compatible with Napster To Go.
Also in the pool of potential pursuers are Internet companies.
(YHOO) purchased Musicmatch in 2004, but
(GOOG) doesn't have a music service and could be a contender, Munster says.
(AMZN) recently debuted its
The third, long-shot category could be broadband providers, Munster says, as companies "try and entice people to stick with their broadband service providers. I think you could see a music service integrated with those offerings."
Don't discount a certain hardware manufacturer, says another Napster watcher."The one that makes the most sense to me is SanDisk (SNDK)," says Darren Aftahi, vice president, equity research at ThinkEquity Partners, which makes a market in Napster but does not own shares or do banking. "They have pretty good traction in the MP3 market -- that gives Napster a distribution platform," he says. On Monday, SanDisk lent its support to RealNetworks instead. Real said its Rhapsody service