EMI to announce digital music service

Call back in two weeks, suggests company chairman

EMI, the UK-based 'big five' music recording company, will unveil its digital music distribution plans "in a few weeks", according to a report in today's Financial Times. EMI chairman Colin Southgate said the company has begun digitising its massive collection of back-catalogue recordings in preparation for online sales due to begin "by the end of the year". That puts its plans in the same timeframe as fellow big-fivers Universal and BMG's joint plans to open an online sales scheme (see ). Sony, meanwhile, is begin selling singles online this summer, with a full service to follow. Of the big five, only Warner has kept its plans close to its corporate chest. All the announced programmes also come within the planned launch period of the Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI), which will is set to release a preliminary spec. this summer and a final version in time for the Christmas shopping spree. ®

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