Dave Matthews Band Issues Single On Napster

'I Did It' is first song by major-label band officially distributed via controversial file-sharing program.

The Dave Matthews Band has done it. By releasing the new single "I Did It" via Napster, the group has become the first major label act to do so with its label's permission.

The band, which began offering the song on its own Web site last week, wanted its Napster-using fans to have a clean version of the song, since several poor-quality recordings of the tune that were taped off radio have surfaced on the service, DMB's publicist said.

"Dave Matthews Band was happy to hear of Napster users' enthusiasm for 'I Did It,' but wants to make certain that DMB fans listening to the song via the Internet also have access to a high-quality MP3 file that sounds as the band intended," the group said in a statement issued Thursday (January 11).

Visitors to the Napster Web site are greeted by a brief description of "I Did It" and can search for the song by clicking on a link. The uptempo tune appears on the Charlottesville, Virginia, band's fourth studio album, Everyday, due February 27.

"Dave Matthews Band maintains a very close relationship with their fans, and Napster offers a simple vehicle to spread the word that their latest studio album is on the way," Milton Olin, chief operating officer of Napster Inc., said in a statement. "We're delighted to help introduce their new music to their legions of fans around the world and to new listeners as well."

Napster and Bertelsmann AG, the parent company of DMB's label, BMG, announced in late October they had paired to create a new, copyright-friendly version of the service.

There are no plans to extend the DMB promotion to the full album, spokespeople for both sides said, nor are there plans for a Napster-sponsored tour.

Limp Bizkit joined forces with Napster to stage a free tour last summer. Before DMB, only independent artists officially have used Napster to promote their songs, the company's spokespeople said.

Napster also announced Thursday that the newest version of the program allows fans to purchase music through CDNow, a BMG property. The purchase is allowed through a prominent CDNow link on the Napster application.

For complete digital music coverage, check out the Digital Music Reports.