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

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

The agreement means EMI repertoire is available to more than 50 European digital stores. Billboard.biz first learned of the pact last October.

"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 at the forefront of persuading the majors to license content to digital service owners, says his company will announce deals with a second major by the end of this month.

The EMI contract enables Wippit to offer tracks from its catalog of 175,000 downloadable tracks. Wippit has an estimated 10,000 subscribers.

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.

To date, Wippit has branded itself as the world's only legitimate peer-to-peer (P2P) 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."

Once other majors start coming on board, Myers is planning a major marketing push to raise awareness for the Wippit brand.