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Virgin Media UK to Launch Broadband ISP Music Service with Spotify

Posted: 14th Oct, 2010 By: MarkJ
virgin media uk musicspotify Cable giant Virgin Media UK, which has been planning to launch an "Unlimited" DRM-free music download and streaming subscription service alongside Universal Music for well over a year now (aka - Music Fish or Music Unlimited), has reportedly delayed its plans again and will instead introduce a placeholder service with Spotify.

It's well known that several major record labels, including EMI, Sony Music and Warner Music, have been causing Virgin Media no end of problems with getting its own service off the ground (here, here and here). Negotiating difficulties over price and functionality of the service remain the biggest stumbling blocks (Virgin wants to offer 'unlimited' downloads, while rights holders would rather it didn't).

Virgin had originally intended to launch a fully P2P based "unlimited" music service before Christmas 2009, although the big music labels managed to scupper that idea. All this hassle is also hampering the operators ability to provide an effective legal alternative to "illegal" file sharing. One of its chief rivals, Sky Broadband UK, has had its own Sky Songs service running for awhile. Not that Sky is making very effective use of it.

A source close to Spotify told The Telegraph newspaper:

"Spotify and Virgin Media are close to concluding a partnership deal. The finer details are not yet known, but Spotify will be offering new tools and content exclusively to Virgin customers as part of the arrangement."

The report appears to have been confirmed by other unnamed sources in the wider music industry, which claim that Virgin Media probably can't launch its own service for another 12-18 months and has therefore decided to "launch a new offering with Spotify".

Spotify specialises in free and paid music streaming, which funds itself through a mix of advertising, premium streaming package subscriptions and commission from direct downloads of individual tracks or albums.

Virgin Media Statement

"Virgin Media is forging new ground in music and whilst we are currently in talks with numerous parties, we want to ensure that any service provides a truly compelling offering for both consumers and industry."

As it stands Spotify would only officially confirm that it was in takes with several UK broadband ISPs, although it said that no deal had been reached. Watch this space.
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