MusicMatch Bows Download Store

MusicMatch will announce today (Sept. 29) that it is launching an a la carte download service for the Windows Media platform.

MusicMatch will announce today (Sept. 29) that it is launching an a la carte download service for the Windows Media platform. The service, which goes live today, will be integrated into the MusicMatch jukebox software and will feature 200,000 tracks, including music from all five major labels and more than 30 independents. All tracks will cost 99 cents; most albums will sell for $9.99.

In a first for a Windows-based pay-per-download store, the service will feature consistent usage rules for all tracks. MusicMatch downloads can be stored on up to three PCs at once and can be transferred to compatible portable devices that support Windows files. Tracks can be burned to CDs; playlists can be burned up to five times.

San Diego-based MusicMatch claims more than 8 million active users of its software in the U.S. and 150,000 subscribers to its premium radio service Artist-On-Demand. The company plans to drive its download sales through its radio offerings: Consumers will be able to purchase tracks as they are listening to them on the radio.

MusicMatch first announced plans for the download service earlier this year. The company's offering is the first in a series of download stores for PCs that are expected to launch this fall, including services from Apple, Roxio, RealNetworks and AOL.

Meanwhile, Dell Computer is following competitors Apple and Gateway into the music space. The company said last week it plans to launch a digital music service and a portable music player later this year. Further details were not disclosed. Dell is also developing a media-management software application that will enable users to listen to digital music files, add music to photo slideshows, watch DVDs and view videoclips.