UK Broadband provider Virgin Media has announced that it is teaming up with the Universal music to offer a DRM-free music download and streaming service which will be available for around £15 per month.
The offer, which both parties say is the "world's first unlimited music download subscription service", is limited to Universal Music only, one of the five music labels. Only Virgin Media broadband subscribers will be able to get the service and the service will apparently be rolled out before Christmas 2009.
No details have been released as to the quality of the music files on offer but the song tracks are unlikely to be lossless. 320kbps bitrate MP3 is likely to be the chosen format due to its universal appeal. It will also be interesting to find out the length of the contract that in which users will be tied and more importantly, whether other labels join in.
Neil Berkett, chief executive officer of Virgin Media, claims that the service will be "superior to anything that's available online today and provides a fair deal for both consumers and artists" but warned that the cable company would be more strict when it comes to tackling piracy.
Virgin Media will as a last resort, temporarily suspend the internet access of persistent offenders but will not permanently disconnect customers. More importantly, Virgin Media will not do packet sniffing or "interception of customer traffic" to track file sharers peddling illegal content.
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Given the fact that Spotify costs £9.99 per month to stream, a £15 per month deal is a smashingly good one and is roughly equivalent to buying two albums every month. Still, it is an expensive offering compared to the Datz Music Lounge which costs 90 for one year (that's £7.50 per month) and give you access to millions of tracks.
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