Virgin, Universal give away music, fight pirates

June 15, 2009

Can Virgin Media crack the scourge of piracy with a new music download service?

The cable provider plans to offer customers unlimited streaming and downloading of MP3 music files in conjunction with the world’s largest music company, Universal, home to artists ranging from U2 to Lady Gaga and Willie Nelson. The service, which may be launched by the end of the year, could eventually include music from other major labels.

The idea is to drive back the tidal wave of online piracy, which could appeal to parents worried that their children are downloading contraband music. More than a decade after Napster made a splash by making it easy for users to download music for free, other systems still exist that give Web surfers the same power. Many of those illegally acquired songs are downloaded over cable providers’ systems.

So would you pay $16 to $24, about the cost of two new albums, for a month of unlimited access to music?

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(Photo: Reuters)

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