FullAudio nabs Universal Music license

Pushing closer to the launch of its online music subscription service, FullAudio Corp. announced Wednesday that it reached a licensing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group, allowing the service access to publishing rights for Universal artists such as Alanis Morissette, Fatboy Slim, and Mary J. Blige.

FullAudio, which already boasts licensing agreements with EMI Recorded Music, EMI Music Publishing, and BMG Music Publishing, plans to unveil its cache-download service later this year. However, to lawfully offer music for download, the service needs to acquire both the mechanical and publishing rights to the songs.

Although FullAudio was one of the first services to seal up both sets of rights to a wide catalog of music through agreements with EMI Recorded Music and EMI Music Publishing, competitors are on its trail, almost all of which are also planning year-end launches.

On Tuesday, the Recording Industry Association of America Inc. (RIAA) announced it had sealed a deal with the National Music Publishers' Association Inc. (NMPA) for the bulk licensing of musical works for on-demand streaming and limited download services. The deal will smooth the way for the major labels' own online initiatives, MusicNet and Pressplay, to easily secure publishing rights to a wide array of music.

Still, FullAudio said that it is trudging ahead with its fourth-quarter scheduled launch, further boosted by its two-year, nonexclusive deal with Universal Music Publishing.

It remains to be seen how successful the subscription services will be when they are up and running, however, especially considering that free download services are still thriving. In fact, users of free file-swapping services have increased almost 500 percent from March to August of this year, according to a report released today by Jupiter Media Metrix Inc.

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