CDnow to launch digital music sales site

Retailer bullish as major music labels prepare own online efforts

Online CD retailer CDnow is to launch a digital music delivery service in the autumn. It's not yet clear what mechanism and music format the company will use, but with over two million customers (it claims) it does have a head start on the major players, coming online later this year. Sony will get there first, with a plan to sell singles digitally this summer (see Sony Music backs MS' digital delivery format), a programme it's putting in place with Microsoft. Universal (formerly Polygram) will follow later in the year with a full-scale digital delivery service to promote not only its own roster of artists and bands but fellow major label BMG's too. It has the backing of AT&T and Matsushita. That still leaves a large number of independent labels for CDnow to promote, and in any case Sony, Universal and BMG have not (yet) said their own online sales will be exclusive. CDnow is probably more concerned about fellow online retailers like Amazon.com, and it can't be long before Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos extends his own sites's CD retailing section with a digital delivery service. ® See also Half a2b staff jump ship to Reciprocal

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