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Oasis' record label plans pay-per-download music sales

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UK independent record company Creation, best known as Oasis' label, is to begin distributing music via the Internet next year, reports the Financial Times. The move follows the announcement by IBM that it is working in the US with five of the world's leading labels to develop a Web-based music distribution system (see Major labels join IBM on Net music sales trial). One of those labels is Sony Music, whose UK wing owns 49 per cent of Creation. Creation originally announced it would be selling music through its Web site through a straightforward CD mail order service to be launched last summer. However, that service has yet to begin -- Creation's Web remains "under construction", and the company now expects to open it for business next month. And in July Creation canned the planned extension of its sales service to cater for international customers. That decision is believed to have been made at Sony's insistence -- the major labels are quick to discourage cross-border sales because of the different prices that different territories will charge for the same disc. Equally, European divisions of the major labels are far more conservative than their US counterparts, who have pretty much come to realise they have to live in the Internet world, and the best way of doing it is to dominate. Which is why the IBM deal is a US-only affair. That conservatism may yet impact on Creation's plans, which appear to be rather less well defined than they seem at first. While the company has been reviewing technology from a number of developers, including Liquid Audio, Creation's communications director, And Saunders, told the FT it will only make a move if it can be convinced the technology is up to the task and it becomes clear there's a real demand for music sold on a pay-per-download basis. That leaves Creation plenty of room for manoeuvre, particularly if it decides to drop the plan, either off its own bat or under pressure from Sony. ®

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