updated 03:40 pm EDT, Mon June 15, 2009
Virgin, Universal team up
In an industry-first, Britain's cable TV, wireless and Internet provider Virgin Media will soon unveil an unlimited MP3 music download subscription service together with Universal Music, says a Monday report. Sources indicate the monthly fees for the service would range from the equivalent of about $16 to $25 and would allow subscribers to stream music like Internet radio or download tracks and albums from any Universal artist. The downloads would come in a DRM-free MP3 format, allowing users to burn discs or transfer them to most any portable music player.
The service is meant to help reduce online piracy, and Virgin in exchange for the deal says it will educate users on piracy and suspend Internet access for persistent offenders, though it will never permanently disconnect users. Exactly how it would police or supervise pirates has not been revealed, however. It is most likely that the Internet service provider will monitor if users share their downloaded files.
No set release date has been released, but the service will launch this year. By that date, Virgin said it hopes to partner with other major and independent music labels to offer a wider range of choices.