EMI signs music download deal

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The Independent Online

The music group EMI has signed a deal to make its music catalogue available on SpiralFrog, a new download service which will legally offer free tracks to consumers.

The SpiralFrog service is experimenting with a new business model funded by selling advertising for its site rather than charging consumers for downloads.

The agreement was with the Music Publishing division of EMI, which owns the rights to the world's biggest catalogue of music, and applies initially only in the US. It follows a deal between SpiralFrog and Vivendi Universal's recorded music business in recent days.

The SpiralFrog-EMI deal covers the entire music catalogue but only for those tracks where there is also an agreement with the artist's recorded music label. SpiralFrog will now aim to sign more recorded music labels and music publishing houses, so that about half of all music is available to consumers when it launches in December.

Although Universal is the largest recorded music group, many of its artists are signed to EMI music publishing, so a further agreement was required to enable consumers to download artists in this category. Universal artists whose songs are owned by EMI include Sting, Nelly Furtado, Jay Z and Kanye West.

The agreement with EMI Music Publishing is the first agreement SpiralFrog has signed with a global music publishing company. SpiralFrog has also obtained a worldwide licence to enable users of SpiralFrog's service to search for and display the lyrics of EMI Music Publishing's Anglo-American repertoire.

SpiralFrog launches in the US in December and should be available in the UK early next year.