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Updated from 1:13 p.m. EDT

Napster

( NAPS) launched its subscription music service in Japan on Tuesday in an effort to extend its reach in the digital music market.

The fledgling company paired up with Tower Records Japan, the country's largest music store, to launch the new service.

The Napster Japan catalog features almost two million songs and costs subscribers $10.99 a month to listen to unlimited songs on up to three computers. For $16.99 a month, subscribers can also transfer songs to a portable music player.

Like its rival,

Apple's

(AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. (AAPL) Report

iTunes Japan, which launched last year, customers can purchase songs and albums a la carte. Prices range from $1.27 to $2.55 per track.

While it's not compatible with the most popular digital music player, the iPod, Napster said there are more than 20 digital music devices in the Japanese market that support its Napster To Go service.

Earlier this year, the company said mobile carrier

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NTT DoCoMo

(DCM)

will launch a line of handsets that will be compatible with the mobile music service as well.

That relationship with DoCoMo is crucial, says Gartner analyst Mike McGuire, as the music market in Japan is more focused on mobile phones.

And the additional operation overseas should also help Napster as it

explores its options, McGuire says. The company recently

hired UBS after third parties showed interest in partnering or acquiring the music service.

"They've got to keeping plugging away at these new markets," McGuire says.

The company is "looking for ways to gain momentum and add customers but minimize customer acquisition costs," McGuire says. Partnering, or getting bought up by a large consumer product company, could give Napster the oomph it needs.

"Music is still a very compelling medium," he says. McGuire does not own shares, and his firm does not do investment banking.

Napster shares added 1.9%, or 8 cents, in recent trading to $4.41.