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UK telco BT today said it wants to become the foundation for artists' and labels' own entries into the digital music market.

The service is essentially an expanded site hosting gig, extended into the areas of content management and DRM through a partnership with UK media technology consultancy Blueprint. Blueprint favours Microsoft Media 10 technology, so the BT scheme is something of a win for Redmond.

BT's network services subsidiary, BT Global Services, will allow customers to set up online stores fed using Blueprint's Open Royalty Gateway (ORG) system and delivered through the latter's Song Centre application. ORG provides the back-end licence maintenance, royalty monitoring and payments, and copy control rules tools. It's up to the customer to create an archive of songs for sale, and to negotiate where necessary the obligatory licences.

BT and Blueprint are hoping the package will appeal to companies keen to sell music online - be they retailers, the artists themselves, or labels - but lack the resources to build the back-end financial and rights management applications themselves. Think of it as a kind music-centric pre-fab online store service of the kind offered for some time now to more general e-commerce companies by the likes of ClickandBuild.

Blueprint said ORG has already been used to run Robbie Williams' Greatest Hits download store, which is scheduled to presage the arrival of a full online retail store next year. ®

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