Pressplay backs CD burning

Will permit music downloads to be stored on disc

Digital music company Pressplay has said it will allow users to burn downloaded tracks onto CD in a bid to compete more effectively with its rivals.

You'd have thought Pressplay's decision would be unlikely to please the music industry, but since it’s a joint venture between Sony and Vivendi Universal, it must have had their blessing at least. Pressplay also has a licence to sell EMI's digital music catalogue.

Pressplay's CD burning system will be provided by Roxio, the company formed by Adaptec to take over the development of its CD authoring software. Roxio has already partnered with EMI - earlier this year the pair said they would co-operate on the development of CD burning software that preserves the digital rights information attached to digital music.

Sony, don't forget, also produces CD-R drives, with which it bundles MusicMatch's Jukebox music management and CD-burning facilities. So Sony clearly knows that music CD creation is a big selling point for hardware.

Pressplay CEO Andy Schuon said the ability to allow CDs to be created from downloads was a crucial feature for music fans and that it would bring the company a competitive advantage. A moot point the latter, since Pressplay is ultimately a distributor, not a retailer of music. And RealNetworks, one of the driving forces behind Pressplay's main rival, MusicNet, already has a deal with Roxio to license the latter's CD burning code.

However, CD burning is believed to be essential to building successful subscription-based online music ventures. Roxio's software will presumably stop anyone burning stacks of discs for all their chums, which is clearly a major concern for the music business. So don't necessarily expect a CD packed with tracks downloaded from one of Pressplay's retailers, including Yahoo!, MSN, MP3.com and Roxio itself, to be playable on a hi-fi. ®

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