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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 May, 2003, 16:29 GMT 17:29 UK
Online music price war begins
CD going into computer
CD burners make it easy to copy music onto discs
The cost of downloading songs from the internet has been cut in the first round of a price war.

Listen.com, which provides internet radio broadcasts for $9.95 (6 ; 8 euros) a month, is slashing the price for burning music onto CDs from 99 cents to 79 cents (48 pence).

This comes just a month after Apple Computers launched its online iTunes music store, which allows Mac users to download songs for 99 cents with no monthly subscription fee.

The Apple service has been far more popular than expected, with two million songs downloaded in its first 16 days.

Price experiment

Listen.com will continue to charge a monthly subscription fee for access to online radio stations, playlists and other programming.

It claims to have tens of thousands of subscribers, but is hoping for more by lowering the fee for burning CDs.

Chief executive Sean Ryan said the company decided on the 79 cents fee after a six-week experiment in which Listen.com charged 49 cents a song.

He said the move attracted more subscribers and boosted music downloading.

The best mix

Listen.com is currently being bought by Seattle-based Real Networks.

It is also offering the 79 cents CD burning fee as part of its Real One service.

Michael McGuire, an analyst with Gartner G2, said the key would be which company regularly offered the best and most up-to-date mix of music.

The music industry wants to persuade people to pay for music over the net rather than downloading songs from the sort of file-swapping service made popular by Napster.

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