EMI [EMI.L] has struck a deal with a UK file-sharing network to offer its entire digital music catalogue online, giving customers the chance to inexpensively and legally download thousands of songs.
Subscribers to London-based Wippit.com pay a flat annual £30 fee. For this amount they can potentially download about 100,000 songs from EMI’s vast back catalogue, which also includes Pink Floyd and Radiohead. The deal will take effect from the middle of November.
Wippit already offers its 5,000 subscribers 60,000 tracks from 200 independent labels, including Richard Branson’s V2, Telstar, Domino and Grand Central. New signings include Stereophonics, Craig David and Liberty X.
It has another 165,000 registered users who can download as many as 30 tracks at any time for free.
It is claimed Wippit probably succeeded in its venture with EMI because it paid as much as GBP1.12 per download back to the label, more than they would sometimes get for a track on a CD.
Wippit splits its revenue 50-50 with the labels, making its profits from a combination of subscription and advertising.
Subscribers can pay either £30 a year or £3.99 a month, tied in for 12 months.
The EMI deal excludes artists such as The Beatles whose music has not been made available for downloading.
Wippit is hopeful of signing deals with another two of the four major record companies Universal [UCSY.OB], Warners [TWTC], Sony [SNE] and BMG.