Sony joins European Net music giveaway

Recording label holdout Sony Music Entertainment has quietly joined rivals in agreeing to release selected songs by top artists such as Michael Jackson and Shakira for a European Internet download promotion beginning Wednesday. Sony Music will participate in "Digital Download Day," an online music giveaway orchestrated by the major music labels, said Britain's OD2, one of the organizers. Sony's music division is the last of the five major labels to work with OD2, a private technology firm co-founded by recording artist Peter Gabriel. It will make available songs from 14 artists spanning 50 albums, OD2 said.

As in the United States, major labels have been backing subscription music download services in Europe to combat the proliferation of online song-swapping, a phenomenon eating into global CD sales. But the nascent industry-sanctioned services have had little success in persuading Internet users to abandon file-sharing sites such as Kazaa and Grokster, which carry a larger selection of music and are free. OD2 has enabled a host of Web partners including Microsoft's MSN and Tiscali to operate subscription download services on behalf of music companies. The labels this week will bring back Digital Download Day, a promotion that generated tremendous publicity in Britain last fall, extending it this time to France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Britain.

From Today through April 15, consumers can register on for a $5.33 (£3) credit enabling them to download or listen to up to three albums' worth of free tracks. The freebie, organizers say, hopes to raise consumer awareness of the major labels' new offerings.

View: Registeration @ Digital Download Day Website

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News source: c|net

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