Sony Music Australia's BandIt.fm online music offering is going "live."

A new function launched today (Aug. 26) on the digital portal which permits artists to upload and sell their recordings straight from the mixing desk, with royalties secured.

"The reality is that any recording can be uploaded and distributed via the service," says Sony Music Australia's GM digital and brand development Gavin Parry. "It doesn't have to be live, but that's where we think the market is going in the future."

To kick things off, Bandit.fm Live will offer from Thursday a five-track MP3 bundle of tracks recorded by Newton Faulkner. The tunes will be taped from the Brit Award-nominated artist's gig the previous night at Sydney's Oxford Arts Factory.

Parry says the invitation to participate is open to all artists, whether signed or unsigned, and a cut from each transaction flows straight into the artist's bank account every month.

"We feel we have something here of real interest," Parry tells Billboard.biz. "A lot of artists no longer tied to labels will want to use this service. There's nobody in this space."

Pricing will be flexible, and set by the seller. "[Tracks] can have any price at all," Parry says. "They tell us what the wholesale price is, and we tack on a margin."

Bandit.fm launched in November 2008. According to the record major, the music discovery and download service has captured two million page impressions on average, and a survey by Sydney-based events firm and publisher Immedia ranks it third in the market among digital stores with a 4% share, behind iTunes with 69% and BigPond Music at 8%.

"We think that is a healthy start after only launching late last year, and only having all major labels on board over the last three months," comments Sony Music Australasia chairman/CEO Denis Handlin. "Our marketing of the service really has just started."

Over the coming months, Bandit's suite of offerings will include video content, a feature which allows consumers to create their own channels, and a reported subscription service. Bandit.fm will expand into New Zealand this November.

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