In another small step into cyberspace for the recording industry, music company BMG Entertainment announced Tuesday it has begun offering digital music for download online through the Lycos Web portal.
Single songs by BMG artists presented in the "premium downloads" section of Lycos's music site (http://music.lycos.com) range from US$1.99 for most songs to $3.49 for a Whitney Houston ballad. Full album prices range from $9.99 to $16.98 for downloads.
The songs presented are radio edits or "clean versions" without profanity and are offered in RealJukebox or Music Match formats. Both digital music player programs support digital rights management, preventing unauthorized copying and distribution. Music copied from a compact disc in the MP3 format – suitable for file sharing on Napster Inc.'s free music exchange – generally lacks copyright protections.
BMG entered into a licensing agreement in June with startup music site Musicbank Inc. to digitally stream music from its library. Along with Time Warner Inc.'s music division, Warner Music Group, and EMI Group, BMG licensed its library of music to MP3.com. Sony Music Entertainment released about 50 singles for download through various outlets in May.
Seagram's Universal Music Group remains locked in legal combat with MP3.com, and all five major labels continue to seek the end of Napster in a California federal courtroom.
Warner has said it expects to offer digital music downloads in the fourth quarter through America Online. AOL is in the process of acquiring Time Warner.