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Play.com stands up to the iTunes Store

Play.com stands up to the iTunes Store

The battle for England’s digital music sector continues to intensify: Apple faces a number of competitors in the UK: EMI and Play.com are the latest entrants into this segment of the market. EMI yesterday confirmed plans to offer its own digital music service through its own site. Plans include elements of music browsing and social media, most likely, but it’s unclear if the store will offer music from other record labels through the service. Competition was already stiff in the UK, with Apple taking on a number of services, including up-and-comers We7, Amazon, HMV and 7digital, eMusic and others.

The war over online music sales took another rung with the news that the UK’s online music retailer, Play.com’s PlayDigital, has struck a deal with the four record labels to offer music for sale as downloadable formats. MP3 without DRM.

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After announcing the service, Play.com noted that with track prices starting at €0.8, it is cheaper than iTunes and makes it one of only three online music stores to offer DRM-free music in a format high quality.

Wendy Snodown, head of PlayDigital told Distorted Loop, “With 100 number one tracks available for €0.8 compared to €0.99 on iTunes and albums at €6.2 which is cheaper than iTunes, PlayDigital is the most affordable solution for music downloads.”

Meanwhile, a recent investigation by Ipsos-Tempo confirms that iTunes is the best-known US digital music service on the market, but still leaves room for the evolution of more specific services.

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The 2008 summer annual survey of 1,148 internet users showed that “58 percent of people believe that iTunes is the number one digital music service.”

In terms of iTunes brand recognition it reached 39 percent.

Source: Macworld