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Magex to trial online music sales

Trail to go live in August, but first find your music providers

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Magex, the e-commerce subsidiary of UK high street bank NatWest, yesterday kicked off its attempt to win the support of online content providers with the launch of a pilot digital music publishing programme. Called CranberryGrove, the scheme will begin offering music to the public around the middle of August. Right now, the scheme's host, iGroup, part of computer dealership Computacenter, is looking for "qualified music labels and distributors" to sign up to support the pilot. The Magex system, launched earlier this month, is essentially a new take on the old 'digital money' concept, allowing users to buy goods and services with virtual currency loaded into a wallet application using a credit card payment. Built into the system is InterTrust's digital rights and copy protection software, which the company claims provides a genuinely secure way of getting content to buyers and ensuring that content can't be copied unless the provider says so. The service will offer music player software from MediaScience and MusicMatch, but since they only offer Windows versions, that rather rules out all those Mac, Linux and Unix users out there. Given Magex's desire to become a universal e-commerce standard, it's got a funny attitude to supporting multiple platforms. iGroup has been developing CranberryGrove for some time, but had to wait on the launch until Magex itself had had its official unveiling. Magex itself is keen to trial its service, which is due to go live in the autumn. ® Artists and record labels can register for CranberryGrove here

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