Virgin and Universal Announce Unlimited Music Download Service

Paul Lilly

Through a partnership with Universal, Virgin Media said it plans to launch an unlimited music download subscription service. The well timed announcement comes just one day before a British report hits the public eye detailing how the creative and telecom industries should go about bumping up digital sales to cope with lost revenue due to online piracy.

"We listened to our customers, our fans, and our artists and we think that this is an opportunity to bring music to a wider audience," said Lucian Grainge , Universal Music chairman and CEO.

According to Reuters, people familiar with the service said it would cost around $16 to $24 per month. Both sides are describing the service as a world first, which would allow Virgin Media broadband customers to both listen to streaming tracks and download however many tracks and albums they want.

Unlike other unlimited subscription services, the downloadable MP3s won't come with any DRM shackles, which means the tracks can be transferred to and played from any MP3-capable device.

"This is really high stakes, if this can't work then what will," commented Mark Mulligan, an analyst with Jupiter.

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