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EMUSIC PREPS SUBSCRIPTION MODEL

Site To Offer Unlimited Downloads For As Low As $9.99 Per Month—But Wait, There’s More!
EMusic.com, a seller of digital downloads, will now offer a subscription service that could become a model for monetizing the Internet music business.

In addition to selling tracks or compact-disc collections individually, the company plans to give consumers unlimited rights to download music from its site for a monthly fee ranging from $9.99 to $19.99, The Wall Street Journal says.

EMusic.com says it will share the revenue with record labels and music publishers that have licensed works in its catalog.

The company's business model change is an obvious reaction to competitor Napster, which has, arguably, made millions of computer users accustomed to downloading recordings for free. Napster's rise has made it harder for EMusic.com and other Internet start-ups to sell downloaded recordings.

Napster, facing lawsuits from the recording industry and some musicians for copyright infringements, will be tested on Wednesday (7/26).

Gene Hoffman, EMusic.com's CEO, predicts the court will shut down Napster, making unlimited downloads for a flat fee the next best thing once free recordings become unavailable. "That is a short-term phenomenon," he said of Napster. "I don't see copyright laws ending anytime soon."

Hoffman said his company will eventually get licenses for the big-name recordings, and also may adjust its subscription pricing based on consumer feedback. It plans to charge $19.99 for a single month of unlimited access to its music; a three-month subscription is $14.99 a month, while a 12-month subscription is $9.99 a month. It will continue to sell individual recordings, which start at 99 cents a track.

EMusic.com will unveil its subscription model at Plug.In, a music conference this week in New York.

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