July 9, 2002, 12:00 AM

Universal Music agrees to test unlimited music distribution at EMusic.com

Universal Music Group is allowing sister company EMusic.com to offer EMusic subscribers 1,000 albums from the Universal Music library for unlimited downloads.

Universal Music Group, a division of Vivendi Universal, is allowing sister company EMusic.com Inc., part of Vivendi Universal Net USA, to offer EMusic subscribers 1,000 albums from the Universal Music library for unlimited downloads. EMusic is an online music subscription site that allows its 50,000 customers to download as much music as they like for as little as $9.99 a month.

The Universal agreement is a trial that will determine if more Universal tracks will be made available at EMusic. EMusic already offers more than 225,000 tracks from 900 independent labels.

EMusic uses the MP3 format, which allows members to burn music to CDs and transfer it to portable MP3 players.

"UMG is committed to expanding the ways we distribute our artists` music through legitimate online services,” Universal Music Group eLabs President Larry Kenswil said. “We hope our experiment with EMusic will help us generate new interest in these titles, while offering a great opportunity for us to give consumers some flexibility. There is clearly huge demand for music delivered digitally and we want to support as many innovative online music services as possible. In order to continue to assess the market, we hope to enter into similar agreements for this segment of our catalog with other subscription services."

Universal Music has signed non-exclusive distribution agreements with a number of online music services recently.

Universal Music Group consists of record labels Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Interscope Geffen A&M; Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Lost Highway Records, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Music Latino, Universal Records, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world.

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