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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 15:41 GMT
MTV prepares music download rival
Burning track to CD
The new service will follow others like Napster
Music network MTV in the US is preparing a downloadable music service to rival Apple's iTunes.

MTV chief Tom Freston told investors on Monday the un-named service would launch in America during the first half of next year, but gave few details.

But he told Reuters: "It will compete with iTunes and everyone else."

MTV's parent company Viacom had prepared music streaming as far back as 2000, but the internet downturn had forced them to stall plans.

MTV currently allows people to download songs through their website MTV.com, but the tracks expire after a month and they cannot be copied onto a CD, or "uploaded" to be played in a portable music player.

MTV has a global presence through music video channels across the world, including the UK.

Computing giant Apple launched their iTunes service in the US in May of this year.

Media analyst Phil Leigh of Inside Digital Media told Reuters MTV may have made a mistake in being too cautious.

"There's no doubt it's a strong brand, with a strong profile of viewers.

"But they can't rely solely on their brand come next year ... After iTunes launched in April, MTV should have been like a hawk on a field mouse."

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