The Virgin Group is the latest company to take the plunge into digital music, launching a service complete with downloads, subscriptions, Internet radio and music management software. The online servi

The Virgin Group is the latest company to take the plunge into digital music, launching a service complete with downloads, subscriptions, Internet radio and music management software. The online service will be the main component of the Virgin Group's entertainment platform, Virgin Digital.

The "Digital Megastore" features a music library of more than 1 million Windows Media-formatted tracks provided by MusicNet. Each track is priced at the industry standard of $.99 per download. The Virgin Digital Music Club subscription service costs $7.99 a month. Both services, including the newest version of Radio Free Virgin, have been integrated into Virgin Digital’s music management software.

Virgin joins MusicMatch, which was recently acquired by Yahoo!, as the only services to incorporate all these features into a single application.

The download market is considered a crowded field by various industry analysts, with Apple controlling as much as 70% of the market and others, such as RealNetworks, Napster, MSN, Sony and Wal-Mart, fighting for the No. 2 position.

The new digital company will work with other Virgin Group subsidiaries such as Virgin Megastores to integrate marketing efforts and editorial content.

Virgin Digital also features an “Ask the Expert” function that acts as a customer support and music discovery outlet, with live music and technology experts responding to individual emails.

Downloads are compatible with all portable devices that support WMA.

The Virgin Group says it plans to extend Virgin Digital outside the United States, but no dates have been announced.