The AP reports Virgin Media, the cable TV operator owned by entrepreneur Richard Branson, launched a new music download subscription service with Universal, the world’s largest music company. The service, described by the companies as a world first, will allow Virgin Media’s broadband customers in Britain to stream and download as many songs and albums as they like from Universal’s catalog for a fee. The music will be available to download in an MP3 format, giving buyers the ability to listen on a range of devices, including the iPod, mobile phones and PCs as well as other MP3 players.
Virgin and Universal said they expected the new service to drive a material reduction in the unauthorized distribution of its repertoire across Virgin Media’s network. They will also implement a range of different strategies to educate file sharers about online piracy and to raise awareness of legal alternatives, including a temporary suspension of internet access for persistent offenders, said the story.
Said Virgin Media’s CEO, Neil Berkett: “In terms of both convenience and value, our new music service will be superior to anything that’s available online today and provides a fair deal for both consumers and artists. There is no better example of Virgin Media’s commitment to harnessing digital technology to give customers what they want, when they want and how they want.”