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Amazon to launch music download service

It will rival Apple's iTunes

Amazon.com is launching a new music download service to rival market leader Apple, it has announced.

The Seattle-based firm said ‘millions’ of songs would be available via its online store.

Downloads will be in the MP3 format compatible with iPods, Macs, PCs and most other MP3 players.

Record giant EMI’s digital catalogue will be available via the Amazon site, along with tracks from thousands of independent labels.

Digital music store

Amazon.com’s online digital music store will launch in the US at an unspecified date this year.

Details of download prices and any future UK launch date have not been released, an Amazon spokesman said.

The Amazon downloads won’t have digital rights management (DRM) software – the anti-piracy technology which restricts the copying of downloaded tracks.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO, said: ‘Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device.

‘We’re excited to have EMI joining us in this effort and look forward to offering our customers MP3s from amazing artists like Coldplay, Norah Jones and Joss Stone.’

iTunes website

EMI last month became the first record company to make its music catalogue available without DRM via the iTunes website.

Announcing its new ‘premium download’ service, Apple said the DRM-free downloads would sell for 99p per song compared to standard 79p versions.

The non-DRM downloads can be played on virtually any digital music device.

Other record labels are expected to follow EMI’s lead by removing the anti-piracy software from their music downloads.

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