Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, on Wednesday announced it would make more than 43,000 song tracks available for download at retail outlets and music Web sites, opening a new front in the marketing of digital music.
The initiative is aimed at attracting fans who may want to buy songs or albums on a one-off basis online rather than through monthly Internet subscriptions, the alternative that major labels have offered to peer-to-peer song swapping services.
Universal Music, a unit of Vivendi Universal, said the downloads will be burnable to CD and transferable to secure portable devices. The digital tracks will be available for purchase by consumers in the U.S. for 99 cents for individual tracks and $9.99 for albums.
The digital downloads will be available through more than 25 retailers and music sites, including Best Buy, Circuit City Stores, MP3.com, Rolling Stone, Tower Records and others.
“This is a direct blow to the peer-to-peer services by providing consumers with a cheap and easy way to get a trusted file,” said P.J. McNealy, analyst with GartnerG2.
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