eMusic to launch download service across Europe – CNET News.com
Digital music download service eMusic is launching across Europe on Tuesday in a bid to become the top alternative to market leader iTunes, the same distinction it holds in the United States.
eMusic will be the first service to launch in all 25 European Union member nations, going head-to-head with iTunes in big markets such as Germany and Britain and bringing the first legal downloading to smaller ones including Malta and Hungary. The service differentiates itself as the only one on a large scale delivering songs in the MP3 format, meaning they can be played on any portable music player including the iPod. Apple Computer’s iTunes can be used only with an iPod.
It appeals to a generally older audience than that served by iTunes and is especially popular with jazz and classical aficionados, who tend to be in the 25-to-54-year-old age bracket that eMusic targets. eMusic carries 1.7 million songs from 8,500 independent record labels, including tracks from Johnny Cash, Bob Marley, Franz Ferdinand and Bjork.
None of the four major music companies, which are responsible for about three-quarters of the music sold worldwide, has agreed to supply songs to eMusic because of the digital rights protection issue. “Just as Sundance has branded independent film as a genre, we are doing the same with independent music,” Chief Executive David Pakman said in an interview. He said eMusic continues to hold talks with Vivendi’s Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI Group and Warner Music, but until they agree to distribute in the MP3 format, it will not carry their songs.