Online publishing giant ninemsn has announced plans to launch its own online music store in Australia.
ninemsn’s music service will be powered by On Demand Distributor (OD2), a UK-based music distributor which currently provides legal music download streaming over the Internet. OD2 has relationships with several ISPs worldwide, including Italy’s Tiscali and the UK’s BT, as well as music outlets such as HMV and Virgin.
ninemsn has also struck deals with Australia’s major record labels to ensure the service features tracks from artists signed to Festival Mushroom, BMG, Sony Universal, Warner and EMI, as well as those signed to a host of independent labels.
The forthcoming ninemsn music service will allow ninemsn users to purchase real-time music streams, time-restricted downloads or permanent copies of songs. In addition, ninemsn will also continue to offer users free music clips, interviews with artists, album and music video previews, and prize giveaways.
According to a press statement, OD2’s music catalogue holds more than 250,000 songs from over 6000 recording artists worldwide.
OD2’s CEO Charles Grimsdale said the combination of ninemsn’s marketing power and reach, and OD2’s experience with online music services, will give the forthcoming Australian music service a competitive edge.
“We know from monitoring sales figures in both Europe and North America that take-up is directly related to the number of commercial tracks available, and with over 250,000 tracks, we think it’s going to be pretty compelling,” he said.
Pricing for downloading music from the ninemsn site is yet to be determined, but will be released alongside the official launch of the service, scheduled for early next year.
Although the relationship between OD2 and Microsoft’s local subsidiary ninemsn is a recent one, the music distributor already holds partnerships with other Web subsidiaries of Microsoft.
In January 2002, OD2 announced it had struck up a relationship with Microsoft’s UK online arm, MSN UK, to provide the Internet portal with its own music subscription service.
The forthcoming ninemsn music service also follows the launch of Apple’s US-based iTunes online music stores in April this year.