Music industry tests digital-only releases

As an unsigned band, the Shazam has never gotten the perks enjoyed by acts attached to major record labels.

"The budgets we've used probably wouldn't even pay the catering on a major-label release," said Hans Rotenberry, a singer and guitarist for the Nashville band, which he said had sold several thousand copies of its self-produced recordings over the last 10 years.

But this week, the Shazam and seven other relatively unknown acts will get a shot at the kind of exposure that only the major record labels can provide, after being recruited for an experiment by Universal Music Group. Universal, which like other record companies has heavily relied on profits from sales of CDs, has signed the artists to a digital-only label. Starting Tuesday, it will release songs through services like iTunes from Apple Computer, Rhapsody from RealNetworks and MSN Music from Microsoft.

News source: C|Net News.com

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