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EMI Plans Digital Delivery Trial
EMI Recorded Music announced Wednesday that it would release more than 100 albums and over forty singles as part of a digital download trial. The U.K.-based music company, one of the top five major-label groups, will make available works by such artists as Pink Floyd, D'Angelo, the Spice Girls, Snoop Dogg, Frank Sinatra and Tina Turner.

The downloads will be sold through major online retailers starting July 1 in North America. The company plans to work with digital service providers to enable the retailers to sell EMI downloads in a single format of Windows Media, at least initially. Consumers will be able to use downloads on home computers, burn CD-Rs and transfer copies to portable devices. EMI will also allow up to two re-installs of a download onto consumer systems in case of technical problems.

Retail pricing for the albums and singles should be similar to that which is used in traditional retail sales, according to an EMI statement. "Digital delivery will eventually become part of our standard release pattern," said EMI CEO Ken Barry. "We are committed to making high quality music available to the consumer in a variety of media. This will allow our artists' fans to take advantage of new ways of consuming music, while ensuring that artists and producers are compensated for their work. This trial is just the beginning."

EMI joins Sony Music and BMG Entertainment in making their top-end product commercially available via digital downloads. Both Sony and BMG unveiled plans in April of their deals with digital distribution specialist Reciprocal.

This download trial is the latest move by EMI in their new media efforts. The music group has had a succession of deals in the past twelve months, including arrangements with MusicMaker to create custom CDs, RadioWave to produce Internet-only radio channels and Preview Systems for live online digital downloads.

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