Stelios Haji-Ioannou's EasyGroup is entering the download market through a partnership with British digital music service Wippit.

Stelios Haji-Ioannou's EasyGroup is entering the download market through a partnership with British digital music service Wippit.

Wippit will power the new "EasyMusic" service, which is due to go live before Christmas. London-based Wippit has a catalog of about 180,000 titles licensed from EMI, Sony-BMG and more than 200 independent labels. The service will sell downloads from £0.29 ($0.51).

"This is a spectacular opportunity for Wippit and we're proud that Stelios has chosen Wippit to wear the famous colours of easyMusic," comments Wippit founder/CEO Paul Myers. "Their ideals are parallel to ours and we believe that easyMusic will be a first stop destination for music fans seeking a no nonsense service."

Early last year, Haji-Ioannou lost a copyright infringement case brought by the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) for allowing customers at its EasyInternetCafe chain to download free music from its computers and burn them onto CDs for a fee of £5 ($8.90).

The Internet cafe chain agreed to pay damages and the BPI's legal costs, amounting to a total of about £210,000 ($375,000).

Haji-Ioannou founded the EasyGroup of companies in 1998 with budget airline Easyjet as one of the business' central planks. The group has diversified into more than a dozen fields, including branded ventures in the car hire and online financial markets.