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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 17:17 GMT
Play.com starts music downloads
iPod Shuffle
Play.com's download site will compete with iTunes
Online retailer Play.com has launched a music download service offering unprotected songs from major record company EMI and independent labels.

The PlayDigital service will allow customers to download individual tracks and albums free from DRM (digital rights management) copy protection.

While DRM tracks can only be played on a limited number of MP3 players, there are no limits with unprotected songs.

Fellow online retailer Amazon has a similar DRM-free service in the US.

'Further deals'

Apple's iTunes, the market leader, also started selling DRM-free songs from EMI's back catalogue last year, under the banner iTunes Plus.

This now runs alongside the main iTunes service, which continues to encrypt songs with DRM.

Play.com says tracks will be available from 65 pence and albums from 4.95, cheaper than iTunes.

The company added that it anticipated that deals would be brokered with other record labels in the next six months.

The music industry had relied on DRM to safeguard against illegal downloading, but labels are now offering tracks without the restrictions as they try to increase digital sales.

SEE ALSO
Illegal downloaders 'face UK ban'
12 Feb 08 |  Business
Apple to cut UK download prices
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27 Dec 07 |  Business
The DRM maze for consumers
11 Dec 07 |  Technology
Who's afraid of the iPhone?
07 Nov 07 |  Technology
Time for Apple to face the music?
19 Sep 07 |  Technology

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