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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007, 13:56 GMT 14:56 UK
Download store 'takes on iTunes'
7digital logo
The store promises to make music files "more accessible"
British download store 7digital says it will "take on iTunes" in the battle for digital music and video.

The download service, which relaunches on Tuesday, is promising cheaper prices and greater ease of use than the Apple store in a bid to attract customers.

Certain songs will be sold for 50p, and many are available in the widely-used MP3 format with no copy protection.

Apple's iTunes has about 80% share of the digital download market, but it has its critics.

Aside from Apple's iPod, many portable music players have trouble playing songs bought at the iTunes store because of the format it sells, whereas MP3s are compatible with most music devices.

iTunes owns 80% of the market because about three-quarters of the portable audio devices out there are iPods
Arash Amel, Screen Digest media analyst
"MP3 is really what the consumer wants," said Ben Drury, managing director of 7digital.

"We want our songs to be playable on as many devices as possible".

Mr Drury also insists that 7digital will never store personal details in files bought from the store.

This comes after it was discovered that iTunes files without copy protection - known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) - contained the full name and account information, including e-mail address, of the person who bought them.

The DRM-free tracks sold on 7digital come from several indie labels and EMI, which offers the same copyright-free music on iTunes.

Digital ghetto

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Founded in 2004, 7digital is a still relatively small player in the online music market.

"The quandary for 7digital is that iTunes owns 80% of the market because about three-quarters of the portable audio devices out there are iPods," says Arash Amel, senior digital media analyst for Screen Digest.

"They really have to push DRM-free music so that they can sell to the iPod market and break out of the digital music ghetto."

7digital also hopes to attract consumers by giving them free online storage for all of the songs they buy online.

The so-called "digital locker" will allow people to access their purchased music and video from any web browser, where it can be downloaded or streamed for no extra cost.

This is in comparison to the iTunes model, whereby files are stored on the user's computer and new machines have to be authorised to play them.

"In the future, people will have maybe 20 devices around the home," said Mr Drury. "You don't want to have to keep moving your music around all of them."

'Personal data' in iTunes tracks
01 Jun 07 |  Technology
Will EMI unlock music revolution?
04 Apr 07 |  Entertainment

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