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Tuesday, 11 December, 2001, 10:17 GMT
Pressplay users can 'burn' CDs
Users will be able to access 100,000 tracks
Users will be able to access 100,000 tracks
Online music provider Pressplay will become the first of the "official" major subscription services to allow users to transfer music on to their own CDs.

However, the company said they would not allow songs to be transferred from a PC to a portable digital music player, in an attempt to prevent illegal copies being distributed free of charge.

Pressplay is backed by Sony and Universal and is set to launch its service to subscribers by the end of the year.

More than 100,000 tracks will be able to be accessed, although the company has yet to announce the cost of its service.

Users of the so-called pay-for-play services are able to listen to songs streamed over the internet or downloaded to a computer.

Rival service MusicNet, backed by AOL and EMI, will not permit users to "burn" the music on to compact discs.

Combat

Pressplay will be the third music subscription service launched in recent weeks, following services MusicNet and Listen.com.

Record companies are setting up the online services to combat the spread of unofficial music download services that have sprung up since Napster's decision to develop a paid-for service.


Everyone's energies should be directed against illegal services, not legitimate ones

Zach Horowitz, President of Universal Music
However pressplay and its rival companies are facing competition from some bands and artists.

Simon Renshaw, who represents acts including American rockers Limp Bizkit, said many musicians were unhappy.

He said: "At least 12 artists have sent out letters to their labels saying that in the event they grant these licences to these services, it is being viewed as a breach of contract."

Threat

Entertainment lawyer Jay Cooper said record companies should be able to distribute songs how they like.

"Record companies generally have a right to distribute how they want to but they have to go back to each and every contract," said Cooper.

One of the backers of Pressplay believes artists must realise the threat posed by free online music swapping services.

President of Universal Music, Zach Horowitz, said record companies would not authorize the use of music if they did not have the backing of musicians.

Charlie Parker
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He said: "The big picture is that right now thousands of sites are illegally using millions of musical tracks without making any payments whatsoever to artists, songwriters or record companies.

"Everyone's energies should be directed against illegal services, not legitimate ones."

Pressplay recently set up deals with independent record companies to extend its music library.

The move will give music fans access to a wide variety of artists including 2 Live Crew, Charlie Parker, The Damned, Slipknot, Marshall Crenshaw, George Thorogood and The Waterboys.

See also:

19 Oct 01 | New Media
Pressplay signs record labels
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