IBM is teaming up with the ?big five? music groups to trial a digital music distribution system.
The trial, codenamed the Madison Project, will allow consumers to purchase and download CD quality music over the Web.
The music groups - Universal, Sony, Warner, EMI, and Bertelsmann - are also working with technology companies, including IBM and Microsoft, to create voluntary standards for digital distribution under the secure digital music initiative (SDMI).
As well as a test of the technology, the music groups will also use the trial to examine consumers? attitude and approaches to buying music online.
By using a broadband cable modem consumers will be able to download a 60 minute album in less than 10 minutes. More than 2,000 albums will be available during the course of the trial, which will involve approximately 1,000 cable subscribers in San Diego, California over six months.
Big Blue has convinced the music companies to cooperate with the Madison Project, which it believes will provide an efficient method of distributing music to customers while protecting copyrights from piracy.
The trial will use an IBM developed delivery system, which authorises and processes transactions in a clearing house system, similar to that used by major banks to authorise financial transactions. Initially, it will be limited to a broadband delivery, although a narrowband telephony system will also be trialed.
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