RealTime IT News

Buy.com Pushes 79-Cent Downloads

Web retail giant Buy.com on Tuesday raised the curtain on its subscription-free music store that offers digital downloads for as little as 79 cents per song.

The Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based firm said its BuyMusic subsidiary running the store would be powered by Microsoft technologies, including Windows Media 9 Series and Microsoft .NET framework.

Unlike competitors like Rhapsody and MusicNet, BuyMusic will not require a monthly subscription. Instead, the service will resemble Apple's iTunes service, which offers individual tracks and album downloads for Mac users.

BuyMusic is the first subscription-free paid download music service for PC users. By launching well before the Christmas season, Buy.com is assured of a headstart over rival Amazon.com and other e-commerce players.

The company said the site would immediately offer approximately 300,000 tracks, with more to be added daily. Individual tracks will cost between 79 cents and 99 cents and albums between $7.95 and $9.95.

"BuyMusic.com will help turn the music industry right side up. There is no other site legally offering anything of this magnitude. The recording industry is behind us 100 percent, and consumers are about to experience a whole new revolution in the way they purchase music," Buy.com founder Scott Blum declared in a statement.

While Buy.com's plan is to piggyback on the success (and model) of iTunes, the company was not able to score the same licensing terms that Apple received from major music labels. That means that some tracks on BuyMusic have different restrictions on copying and burning.

A company source confirmed the company is using technology from Seattle-based Loudeye to power the sale and downloads of tracks. Technology from New York-based Muze is being used to provide relevant product information including cover art, label and studio information, track listings, discographies, author bios and review excerpts.