Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment plan to cut prices for digital music downloads and add new features, including CD burning and the ability to transfer songs to portable devices.
The moves are aimed at reaching out to consumers who have continued to flock to free file-swapping services while turning a cold shoulder to paid music subscription services launched by the major record labels in recent months. Single downloads have been sold for years online, but high prices and built-in anti-copying technology have ensured lackluster sales to date.
Universal Music Group will be offering tens of thousands of digital music downloads from its U.S. catalog this summer, according to UMG sources. The tracks, which will cost 99 cents for singles and $9.99 for albums, will include both new releases and older titles. Moreover, UMG sources said the record label plans to offer portability capabilities, allowing people to play songs on devices such as MP3 players.