A music website aimed at giving artists a major cut of the proceeds while keeping record labels out of the deal is to go live today.
Lala.com will allow fans to trade music CDs for just under £1, and will work almost like an eBay-style auction exchange. Users will be encouraged to list all the CDs they may want to swap and the ones they would like to get.
The recipient of the CD pays 80p, of which 54p will go to the artist by way of a charitable fund for musicians called the Z Foundation. The rest will cover administration costs and overheads.
"We all have this music that sits in our homes. Wouldn't it be great if people can exchange those CDs," said Lala.com founder Bill Nguyen, who received almost $9m in venture capital for the project.
The service has been tested with almost 100,000 people over the past few months, and claims to have a further 200,000 waiting to join when the service goes live.
However, there has been a mixed reaction from the recording industry. Some perceive Lala.com as a threat similar to the pioneering peer-to-peer music file sharing service Napster.
A spokeswoman for the Recording Industry Association of America said: "To date we have declined comment on Lala.com, and will hold to that here as well."
Nguyen defended Lala.com claiming that its research had shown that for every five CDs exchanged on the server, a new CD was bought.
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