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Virgin digital music service launching this week

First-time downloaders welcome

Virgin’s music download service, Virgin Digital UK, will launch on Friday.

The new service will offer over one million tracks, offering both all-you-can-eat subscriptions and individual track downloads. Subscriptions will cost from 40p a day, while permanent downloads start at 79p. The service uses Windows Media, so will work with devices supporting that standard, but iPod owners are locked out.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, said: “With a strong music heritage behind us, as a record label and a retailer, Virgin has a huge advantage, and a platform to launch a digital service that will become the ultimate destination to buy, stream, burn and enjoy the best the music world has to offer.”

The service aims to “redefine” the digital music experience by combining a variety of features and consumer elements. The service includes a digital music store, a music club subscription service, streaming radio, powerful digital music and portable device management tools, and an assortment of other features.

Backed by music experts at Virgin Megastores, the service uses software developed in-house and is a collaboration with US digital music provider Music Net.

The service offers additional facts and musical recommendations and includes phonetic search, extensive artist biographies and a ‘Related Artists’ feature that offers information about influences, collaborations and recommendations of similar artists.

To celebrate the launch of the service, on the evening of 2 September, Virgin will host exclusive performances from Bloc Party, The Dandy Warhols and The Cribs.

More than 150 live performances are currently being planned across London, providing exclusive content to the Virgin Digital site.

Users can choose from two subscription services: Basic (£9.99) or Premium (£14.99). Individual tracks are also available from 79p per song.

Virgin Digital is working with Blueyonder, offering Blueyonder customers free trials and free downloads from the new service.

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