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EMusic Intros MP3 Subscription Service

EMusic.com Inc. , Monday launched its "EMusic Unlimited" subscription service, which allows consumers to pay one low monthly price to download as much music as they want from EMusic's digital collection of more than 125,000 MP3s -- and financially compensates musicians and record labels for their work.

Dubbed EMusic Unlimited, the new offering allows consumers to download as many songs as they want from the company's catalog when they subscribe to one of the new pricing plans. Pricing starts at $9.99 a month for annual subscriptions or $19.99 when paid on a monthly basis.

The company says it will avoid many of the problems that have plagued providers of MP3 music since all of its content has already been licensed. However, much of the content is from independent artists and not major labels.

"Since day one, our company has been focused on leveraging the Internet to improve the ways that music is discovered, delivered and enjoyed," said Gene Hoffman, EMusic.com president and chief executive officer.

"The subscription service offers a legitimate alternative to tools like Napster by providing a compelling solution for both the music consumer and the music business," he said.

While MP3 is certainly one of the hottest formats on the Web, its emergence has not come without a price. The Recording Industry Association of America has been at war with a number of MP3 providers, including MP3.com Inc. and MP3Board Inc..

MP3.com recently removed much of its major label content to avoid potentially costly litigation, although it is working with major labels to restore the removed music. MP3.com recently settled lawsuits filed by Warner Brothers Records and BMG Music which allows it to broadcast content from those two labels.