Mulemusic butts in on paid downloads

A local Internet startup will pit itself against a group of music retailers' download services when launches before year's end.

Mulemusic has signed deals with EMI and Festival Mushroom Records, and claims the music download site will offer over 130,000 songs for around $1.99 per song.

The service will be similar to the one announced by Destra earlier this week. Destra partners HMV, JB Hi-Fi, Sanity and launched paid music download services after Destra announced deals with the same record labels as Mulemusic.

Like Destra partners, Mulemusic's songs will be available in Windows Media Audio format using Microsoft's digital rights management.

Mulemusic will also use similar promotional tactics, with pre-paid vouchers and cards available at selected retail outlets.

These retail outlets, however, have been the main differentiator between paid music download services announced so far.

Mulemusic director Angus Hayes said his company would announce agreements with a range of retailers to promote the service.

"We're looking for synergies between clothing, retail, music and players to promote the vouchers."

He said it would also look at the lifestyle, streetwear (retail outlets) and MP3 manufacturers for cross promotion.

"Partnering with consumer electronic giants gives us a method for moving the music around with customers, wherever and whatever they may be doing," he said.

The vouchers will allow customers without credit cards to buy from Mulemusic.

The main reason for the similarities between Mulemusic's service and those of the Destra partners has been record labels' interest in such services, said Hayes.

"EMI and Festival Mushroom have been the most forthcoming so far, and Festival Mushroom, being a smaller player, they're really keen to get onboard," he said.

A Mulemusic-BMG Records deal was in the pipeline, said Hayes.