America Online announced Tuesday the beta release of its new digital music subscription service, MusicNet 1.0, to be made available to AOL members in January.
The cost of the new service will be $9.95 a month, for which subscribers will be able to access 100 music streams and 100 downloads per month. Currently AOL boasts a song list of approximately 78,000 titles.
The new venture is backed by major and independent music labels such as BMG, EMI, Warner Music Group and Zomba Records. Artists included in the searchable MusicNet database include such pop music notables as Christina Aguilera, Eric Clapton, Faith Hill, Matchbox Twenty, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Britney Spears. Classical, jazz, opera and world music artists will also be available.
"The introduction of MusicNet 1.0 will expand our range of music offerings and represents an important starting point for an entirely new way to purchase music online," said Kevin Conroy, Senior Vice President and General Manager of AOL Music, in a prepared statement.
The new service is being previewed this week at Internet World in New York City, held at the Jacob Javits Convention Center.
AOL joins a burgeoning field of companies offering digital music services. RealNetworks, on whose technology MusicNet is based, just launched RealOne, its own digital music service. Other nascent competitors include Sony and Vivendi Universals joint venture, Pressplay, and Listen.coms Rhapsody.