EMI Group has launched what it calls Singapore's largest online music store, through a non-exclusive deal with local Internet service provider StarHub.

EMI Group has launched what it calls Singapore's largest online music store, through a non-exclusive deal with local Internet service provider StarHub.

The Play portal allows users to purchase titles from a catalog of 50,000 EMI songs. Other music companies are expected to license their repertoire to the service.

Downloads cost $1.17 each, or $9.70 for the full album, which can then be burned to CD or copied to a portable device. The album download is approximately 20% cheaper than the cost of a physical CD in Singapore.

Kyong Yu, head of StarHub Interactive, says songs by more than 3,000 international artists will be made available for download from Play as soon as they air on radio, often preceding commercial sale.

"This is an exciting platform that allows us to rebuild the business," adds Valerie Lim, managing director of EMI Singapore. "We're proud to be the first music company to licence music for downloads in a platform endorsed and supported by the Singapore government."

A survey conducted by the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) revealed that more than 500,000 Internet users in Singapore downloaded music last year, the majority of it illegally.