In an attempt to win web surfers over to downloading music from legal sites, digital service provider OD2 has launched its second Digital Download Day.
Following the first Digital Download Day in October 2002, which had problems coping with the number of people trying to register, OD2 has extended the pre-registration period and will give users three days in which to choose their music.
From 9 April until 15 April, users can register for downloads in one of three formats for just €5 (£3.40). After registration they have three days in which to download free tracks, although the offer closes on 18 April.
Users have a choice of streaming tracks for 1p, downloading only to the hard drive for 10p a track, or burning tracks to CD at £1 a track.
But tempting people away from popular peer-to-peer (P2P) sites such as as Kazaa and Grokster, where they can swop music files for free, has proved hard.
The recording industry has focused much effort on issuing legal threats and warnings rather than working with providers to develop a business model that appeals to the public.
But critics of the OD2 model have said it does not go far enough to discourage people from downloading files from P2P sites.
Wayne Rosso, president of file sharing site Grokster, described it as a formula for disaster.
"My message to the industry is 'get real'. How greedy can they be?" he said. "The current models are extremely expensive and restrictive."
Paul Smith, OD2's marketing manager, agreed that there are still steps to be taken to get the business model right.
"It is still expensive but we and the retailers are constrained in what we can offer by the recording industry, which doesn't yet see music downloads as core business," he said.
But he believes that with the growing take-up of broadband connections, and more acceptance within the recording industry, prices will fall and downloading music from the internet will become mainstream within two years.
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