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Apple's service has generated a huge buzz among label executives, and Apple chief Steve Jobs is being viewed as a potential music industry savior.

APPLE TO UNVEIL ONLINE MUSIC SERVICE TODAY

Computer Company Expected to Introduce its Online Delivery Service in Highly Anticipated Press Conference
Well, the wait will soon be over.

Apple is expected to unveil today its much-talked about and highly anticipated online music service—a move that many in music hope will inject new life into the beleaguered record industry.

Apple's service has generated a huge buzz among label executives, and Apple chief Steve Jobs is being viewed as a potential music industry savior. Those that have seen the fee-based service believe it is good enough to lure consumers away from free sources of music online, which have plagued the recording industry since the start of Napster.

Apple has tried to keep the details of the service under wraps until it reveals them in a news conference in San Francisco today. But, of course some details have leaked. The company has officially provided few details of its new service, but people in the music industry and analysts said users would be charged 99 cents to download individual songs drawn from the catalogs of the Big Five record labels. They said that once users download the music, they would be able to listen to it on their computers or transfer it to a portable music player.

The service will be available only to Apple computer users at first, sources say, although it may expand relatively soon to encompass the far larger market of computers that run on Microsoft Corp.'s Windows, sources said.

Music industry executives have praised the Apple service, saying it's easier and more inviting than any other online music outlets they've sanctioned.

According to numerous reports, the new format means Mac and iPod owners will need new software to play music from the service. The service will be integrated into an updated version of Apple's iTunes software, enabling users to search for, buy and download songs through the same program they use to organize and play music on their computers.

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