Soribada, once South Korea's most popular P2P music service, is back in business. The company today (July 10) launched a new incarnation, Soribada 5, which offers both a subscription service for 3,00

Soribada, once South Korea's most popular P2P music service, is back in business.

The company today (July 10) launched a new incarnation, Soribada 5, which offers both a subscription service for 3,000 won ($3.16) a month and a download service for 500 won ($0.52) per song.

Soribada's latest version remains a unique combination of P2P and for-pay technologies. Consumers provide the songs to share with others and the company promises to filter out music that has not been authorized. Music will be available in both 192K and 320K options.

Since 2000, the service had been repeatedly sued for copyright infringement by music industry lobby groups the Korea Music Copyright Assn., Korean Assn. of Phonogram Producers and the Federation of Korean Art Performers' Organization.

Following several conflicting court rulings over the years, including an Oct. 31, 2005 shutdown order by the Seoul Central District Court, Soribada finally reached an agreement with KAPP on Feb. 27 to turn the operation into a paid P2P service. Soribada agreed to pay 8.5 billion won ($9 million) in penalties in exchange for an end to civil and criminal proceedings.

South Korea's music industry has been ravaged over the past five years, with physical sales declining 70% according to KAPP, which collects digital music revenues.

Over the past two years, however, subscription-based music services have taken off, with Korea's telecoms and other Internet music companies offering unlimited music access for 3-5,000 won a month.

"Music subscriptions services have become the norm in Korea," says Choi Young-suk, a media analyst for Samsung Securities. "In many ways, Soribada is the last major file-sharing company to make the switch."

Soribada originally announced its new, paid service would launch in April, but technical problems and disagreements over service pricing led to delays.