Eircom.net music service undercuts CD prices by 50pc


29 Apr 2004

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Ireland’s first online music store was launched yesterday by Eircom.net, offering music lovers legal music downloads of their choice from 250,000 tracks by 8,500 artists for as little as 68 cents a song. Under a proposed credits system, a music lover can download the equivalent of a music CD for less than €10 – up to 50pc less than the cost of a CD on the high street.

Entitled The Music Club, users can listen to, or download, their favourite tunes in a safe, legal and virus free environment for at least 68 cents a track. Eircom claims users can save 50pc of the price of buying CDs at high street prices. The purchase of each track entitles the users to burn their own CDs or load tracks onto portable music players such as Creative Technology’s Zen Music Player.

An interactive tutorial demonstrates how to access the music by means of special credits which can be bought on the site. Once purchased, the credits can be used to listen to songs online, temporarily download music onto home PCs or permanently download songs for use on CDs or portable music players. Before choosing to download a song, visitors can avail of a 30-second free preview clip. For example, one credit entitles users to stream or listen to a full song while online, while 10 credits allows music lovers to temporarily download a track onto their PC.

Depending on the artist, songs can be downloaded permanently for between 99 credits. In terms of the cost structure for credits, €2.99 buys users 300 credits, equal to 30 temporary downloads or three permanent downloads. €9.99 buys you 1,000 credits equal to 10 permanent downloads, practically an entire music CD. €29.99 worth of credits, some 3,400 credits, entitles users to 340 temporary downloads and up to 34 permanent downloads, depending on the artist.

Users can also sign up to a monthly subscription service whereby €7.99 per month entitles users to 110 temporary downloads and 11 permanent downloads of songs. A €14.99 per month subscription entitles users to 220 temporary downloads of songs and 22 permanent downloads of songs.

Eircom.net managing director Fintan Lawlor commented: “This new development makes broadband a must for all music lovers, allowing them to download their favourite songs from a collection of 250,000 in a minute, up to 10 times faster than a traditional dial up connection. The massive selection features something to suit all tastes, ranging from Pavarotti to the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Kylie or Westlife at prices which are up to 50pc cheaper than high street prices.”

Eircom.net’s move puts it ahead of Apple’s proposed iTunes music store that it has been promising for Europe as well as similar strategies to host European online music stores by Microsoft and RealPlayer.

By John Kennedy