Digital music vendor Napster has confirmed today that it will phase out its university subscription program that gave students subsidized access to Napster's music subscription service as part of their tuition fees. The company said in a statement sent to P2P Blog that it will continue to maintain the program at a small number of schools, but not renew any contracts and not look for any new partners in higher education. From the statement:

"(T)his program is not a focus of Napster's core strategy nor is it a significant source of revenue for the company. We have only a couple of thousand university subscribers."

That's a stark contrast to the spirit in which the program was launched back in 2003 and 2004. Napster executives repeatedly called the idea of subsidized campus subscriptions "groundbreaking" back then, and Napster CEO Chris Gorog had this to say in a press release in December of 04:

"It is extremely rewarding to have the academic community share our dedication to providing a safe and fun means of discovering music. We are thrilled to bring Napster to a growing number of passionate music fans at campuses across the country."

Napster hasn't exactly been doing great lately, losing subscribers by the tens of thousands and money by the millions. Both didn't really help with Wall Street, where Napster now trades for "a little less than the cash it has on its books," as Rags Gupta put it on GigaOm today. Napster had about 45,000 university subscribers in Q1 of 07, which appears to be the last time the company referenced these numbers separately from its regular subscribers.

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