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Sony To Sell Digital Music Online

April 11, 2000

NEW YORK (AP) _ In the latest effort to combat music piracy on the Internet, Sony will begin offering commercial downloads of single songs later this month, the company announced Monday.

The songs will be offered in a secure, non-copyable format developed by Sony called ATRAC3. Users can play the songs back on a computer, but the only portable devices that support the format are made by Sony.

Makers of the popular Rio and Nomad players, which use the MP3 format that allows for copying, do not yet make devices that can use secure, non-copyable formats.

The initial lineup from Sony will include 50 singles from Sony’s roster of artists, including Pearl Jam and Jennifer Lopez. The singles will be prices at around the same level as for a regular CD single, or about $3.49 with a $2.49 introductory price.

Sony and other major music studios have been concerned about the widespread piracy of music over the Internet and have been reluctant to offer commercial downloads for sale without assurances they won’t be illegally copied.

However, the companies have offered promotional downloads of songs in the past, and are testing the waters to see how best to proceed in selling music online.

Last week, BMG, the music subsidiary of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann, said it had reached agreements with several technology companies to begin offering its own commercial sales of music downloads this summer.

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