Virgin Media and Universal Music have signed a new deal to launch a music download service in the UK.
The service will be offered as part of Virgin's UK broadband offering, and will allow unlimited downloads of tracks by Universal artists for a monthly fee, or limited downloads at a lower price.
The companies vowed that the service will not use any digital rights management software, and customers will be able to keep the downloaded tracks for as long as they wish.
However, Universal said that it would work with Virgin to prevent the downloaded songs being redistributed to other users.
The move is a first between a major label and an internet service provider. Haunted by unauthorised downloading, and spurred by the success of online stores such as iTunes, music labels have long been searching for a way to reap profits from legal downloads.
"In terms of convenience and value, our new music service will be superior to anything that's available online today, and provides a fair deal for consumers and artists," said Neil Berkett, chief executive of Virgin Media.
The companies did not give word on a possible launch date, nor pricing plans for the new service.
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