Soribada, South Korea's top P2P music service provider, claims it has received approval from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to launch a legal subscription-based P2P music-download service May 1.

A Soribada spokesperson explains that the company has not yet determined subscription rates. The Seoul-based service claims its current service has some 700,000 subscribers and reported sales of $29 million and an operating profit of $3.9 million in 2007.

Founded in 2000, Soribada at one point had 15 million registered users, but a series of copyright-related lawsuits by record labels and other rights-holders forced the company to seek alternative revenue models.

"We have an ambitious plan to extend the sphere of our P2P-based music download service business beyond Asia, to Europe and North America," said Sean Yang, Soribada CEO and co-founder, in a statement.

Soribada claims to have licensing deals with almost all local labels, with the notable exception of Seoul Records, which is owned by SK Telecom -- Soribada's main rival in the online space.

Among foreign labels, Soribada says it has a deal with Universal Music and that it is about to close deals with Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music.