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Psonar to launch penny-per-per play music service

Digital music locker service Psonar is planning to relaunch as a rival to Apple's iTunes.

In an interview with thinq_ the company's Martin Rigby outlines plans to take on the likes of Spotify with a new payment model which would see users listening to music, or gifting it to others, for a penny per track.

"The proposition we came up with to meet the needs of what we call the 'mobile user generation' is Psonar Pay For Play," Rigby explained. "The idea behind it is very simple: you pay one penny, one cent, or one Eurocent to listen to one track once, and if you listen to playlists or an album then you pay the same price - one penny, one cent, or one Eurocent for each track in the album."

It's a model that Rigby and the team at Psonar believe has the most potential to sway people away from what remains one of the most common music distribution methods: illegitimate peer-to-peer sharing.

"We think of ourselves as being very complementary to the other streaming services," Rigby claimed, "enabling people that otherwise wouldn't have access to legal on-line streaming services and who want to use the music in a different way the ability to use digital music on that basis."

Individual tracks, albums, or custom playlists can be shared via blog posts, Twitter messages, or Facebook updates created directly on the platform. A user that clicks on a Psonar link will be able to play the music immediately if they are already a user with credit loaded on to the service, while those who aren't will be able to sign up directly on their desktop or mobile device.

"Social is the key component for us," claimed Rigby. "Psonar is deeply social - and by that I mean that it's driven by gifting and sharing. We're designing a range of incentives encouraging people to share music with each other, and these are all very easy to build into the service - much easier than it was possible with MySpace Music."

New models for the legal distribution of music are popping up all of the time, but will Psonar's take be enough to keep the pirates at bay?

"What keeps me awake at night: is a penny a play cheap enough? We are, in the end, competing with free - are we right in saying that we can convert people who would otherwise be using piracy into paying a penny per play?"