BBC Planning To Open Vaults With Online Music Service

BBC Planning To Open Vaults With Online Music Service
The BBC is gearing up to launch a music download service, offering up streams and paid downloads from its rich archives of performances. According to several news reports, the new ad-supported online music service will provide audio and video music content recorded for the British broadcaster’s various TV and radio programs, such as Top of the Pops, Radio 1's Live Lounge and John Peel.

In the past, such high-quality material has become much sought-after inclusions on CD singles and has made up entire collections by bands such as the Beatles, the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Fall, Mogwai and countless others.

The BBC is reportedly aiming to launch a test version of the service in November, with a full launch coming in January 2009. It would put the BBC in direct competition with similar services like iTunes and Amazon, but unlike iTunes all downloaded BBC content will be DRM-free, meaning users will have free rein to copy and transfer content to whatever devices they please.

As previously reported, so far the only major label support for the project comes from EMI, but MusicWeek reports that talks are taking place with the other majors.

The pricing scheme for the service has yet to be finalized, but there are reports that prices would be similar to those of iTunes, where it’s 99 cents for one audio track.