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Amazon.com is prepping an MP3 music download store, offering DRM-free songs from EMI and 12,000 other labels.

The e-tailer will open shop "later this year". In the meantime it is not commenting on pricing.

But according to WebProNews, Amazon is said to be offering "full album downloads retailing at $4.99 to $8.99 and individual tracks ranging from $.89-$.99".

Bruce Houghton, the author of the WebProNews story, appears to have the inside gen on launch time too. He cites unnamed sources who says that "Amazon is pushing for an 'as soon as possible' launch that is primarily being held up by technology and data issues. June or July would seem a likely launch time frame as Amazon is anxious to beat competitors to the inevitable rush of DRM free product".

Speculation was rife last month that EMI's agreement to sell DRM-free music would tempt Amazon, the internet's top seller of physical format music, into launching its own iTunes rival.

EMI announced its first venture into DRM-free downloads, through a deal with Apple. ®

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