Universal Music Group Offers Pay-per-song Technology

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Universal Music Group has been aggressively marketing its pay-per-song music download technology as it awaits further court rulings on Napster, an Internet company that allowed visitors to download songs for free.

UMG, New York, announced last week that it has signed multiple agreements with music e-tail firms that will result in at least 60 songs from the record label's catalog being offered at 15 Web sites. Some of these sites include Rollingstone.com, Excite@Home, Lycos Music and BestBuy.com.

The deals were made possible after UMG and a number of technology firms created an Internet software called bluematter, which makes the downloads possible. The technology firms are InterTrust Technologies Corp., Magex Limited and RealNetworks Inc. Financial terms of the software agreements were not disclosed.

Pricing for downloads may vary at each Web site. However, Excite@Home will offer a channel for UMG artists that will cost $1.99 per song. Excite@Home subscribers will be offered a free $4 trial to be used on UMG products.

Bluematter allows viewers to send song samples to a friend, who then can purchase the full track. A song purchase also will include biographies and photographs of the artist, as well as lyrics and credits to the title. Bluematter will be used to market nearly every musical genre, according to UMG.

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