EMI Recorded Music today (March 3) confirmed it has struck a deal to license repertoire to U.K.-based digital-music service Wippit, becoming the first major record company to do so.

EMI Recorded Music today (March 3) confirmed it has struck a deal to license repertoire to U.K.-based digital-music service Wippit, becoming the first major record company to do so.

With the agreement, tipped by Billboard in October, EMI repertoire is now being made available to more than 50 European digital stores.

"This market is continuing to develop and has growing potential as more retailers and services come on board," says Emmanuel de Buretel, chairman of EMI Music Continental Europe.

Now, London-based Wippit's CEO Paul Myers, who has been waging a determined campaign to persuade the majors to license content to digital-service owners, says his company will announce a deal with a second major by the end of March.

The EMI contract enables Wippit to offer tracks from the label's catalog of 175,000 downloadable tracks. Wippit, which has an estimated 10,000 subscribers, has branded itself as the world's only legitimate peer-to-peer file-sharing service. But the EMI tracks will be available only on Wippit's new à la carte download service, which launches later this month.

"We're not giving up on P2P; we're simply going to add the à la carte service to the P2P service," Myers explains. "We're also going after quality rather than quantity, as we work out the best way to let buyers navigate to buy music they are interested in."

Wippit tracks cost £0.79 ($1.45) each, and can be transferred to a portable player but are limited to three burned copies on blank CDs.

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