Revamped AOL unveils web-based music store
AOL on Tuesday unveiled a revamped music product with a web-based store and subscription service offering audio and video streaming, programmed radio and downloads that can be transferred to compatible digital media players.
The online division of Time Warner Inc. said AOL Music Now, part of its AOL Music service, is open to any online visitor and features more than 2.5 million songs and videos.
AOL had, until recently, been a service only available to its Internet access subscribers. But this month its parent announced a change in strategy to open up AOL to more users with features such as free email and a variety of web services and content.
It aims to drive revenue through lucrative online advertising dollars rather than Internet access fees.
"It's available to anyone to come to the service and search for songs," said Amit Shafrir, president of AOL Music Now. "We have a huge online presence and won't have to spend tens of millions of dollars in marketing to attract users."
AOL said digital media on the service can play directly from a web browser without the need to download a standalone software application, as with Apple Computer Inc.'s popular iTunes service. It is also compatible with Microsoft Corp.'s PlayforSure compatible portable devices.
Users will pay $10 (5 pounds) to $15 a month for full access to AOL Music Now. AOL Radio with XM Satellite Radio service is also available for $4.95 a month.
AOL bought Music Now last November from consumer electronics retailer Circuit City for an undisclosed sum and had run a preview edition in the months that followed.
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