updated 01:00 pm EST, Mon November 14, 2005
Virgin Digital Red Pass
Virgin Group today will , the latest online music service offering. The subscription-based music service undercuts other services by offering unlimited access for $7.99 a month without a contract, according to Reuters. The service claims to have a catalog of more than 2 million tracks representing at least 15,000 record labels and says it provides 60 professionally programmed Internet radio stations, CD ripping and burning provisions and a host of other new features. The report says that downloaded tracks can be transferred to portable music players that are certified "Plays for Sure," including many devices that can play songs in Microsoft's WMA format; however, Apple's iPod is not compatible.
"We created this service because we wanted people to listen to and discover more music than they ever have before," he said. "Granted, the digital music space is becoming more populated, but we believe our 35-year history in music enables us to offer consumers a certain level of musical expertise that other services simply can't provide."
Reuters says that music licenses and content distribution platform are provided by MusicNet, and the playback engine, user interface, search, browse, and media-management functions are part of the Virgin Digital platform.
Red Pass allows users whose subscription lapse to retain all of their downloaded music and options until the account is reactivated. In addition, Virgin also offers a music replacement service that enables users to replace purchased tracks if their computer crashes or is lost/stolen within a year.
The service also features an auto-fill button to fill automatically load music on any compatible portable player; user rankings, reviews and commentary; more than 60,000 custom and frequently refreshed playlists; the ability to get expert replies to questions about music or technology; and a Fan Ring network of artist-related communities that receive targeted information, according to the report.