Warner will begin by offering new Internet-only singles from bands on the label, including the Barenaked Ladies, Collective Soul and Manhattan Transfer. The label will then expand to offer more than 1,000 singles and albums from other artists in the Warner family of labels, which include Atlantic, Elektra, London-Sire and Rhino, the company said in a statement.
Warner is working with RealNetworks to develop a cross-platform download infrastructure for the service, but the audio files will be available in a variety of formats, the company said. The songs will be available through online retailers, including Amazon.com, and on Walmart.com when that site launches its music download service next year.
RealNetworks will also be providing the content preparation, hosting and delivery, digital rights management, billing services, and customer support.
Earlier this year, Warner won an undisclosed amount in a financial settlement from music site MP3.com over copyright-infringement by the site, which was allowing users to download music from Warner's catalogue.