Leading European digital-music service provider OD2 is reporting a rise in download activity in the days following the launches in Europe of Napster and iTunes Music Store. Separately, OD2 has unveile

Leading European digital-music service provider OD2 is reporting a rise in download activity in the days following the launches in Europe of Napster and iTunes Music Store. Separately, OD2 has unveiled seven new online retail partnerships.

According to OD2, which was recently acquired by U.S.-based Loudeye Corp., the number of visits and paid-for downloads via its retail affiliates rose the weeks that its rivals arrived in Europe.

Without declaring actual figures, OD2 says downloads via the sites operated by its retail affiliates improved 28% week-on-week following the June 15 European launch of Apple Computer’s iTunes. It says downloads jumped 22% during the week of Roxio-owned Napster's May 20 launch in the United Kingdom.

"We're seeing increased download volume across existing retail partners, the expansion of current partners' music deployments and the addition of several new customers across new geographic regions," says Charles Grimsdale, president/managing director of Loudeye's international unit.

Separately, OD2 has unveiled a string of new retail partnerships, including deals with Ninemsn, the Australian version of Microsoft Corp.'s MSN portal, and British radio station partner GWR group.

Partnerships have also been struck with Icelandic portal Tonlist for its Music Club service; Dutch online retailer Ilse Media and its Download.nl service; U.K. charity organization Oxfam’s Big Noise Music service; and the Republic of Ireland's biggest telecommunications group, Eircom, for its Music Club store.

Additionally, OD2 says it helped launch Packard Bell’s Music Station service in the United Kingdom, France and Germany.