Destra adds Harvey Norman to retail partners

Online music company Destra has added Harvey Norman to its roster of retail partners. The service will be featured on the retailer's new Web site and promoted in its 157 stores.

Online music company Destra has added Harvey Norman to its roster of retail partners. The service will be featured on the retailer's new Web site and promoted in its 157 stores.

"www.musicandgames.com.au will provide our customers with a safe and reliable source for all their digital music needs. With Harvey Norman's continued expansion into the rapidly expanding portable digital media market, we believe this partnership will provide an excellent opportunity, now and in the future, for promoting this category within our stores," said Colin Wright, product and marketing manager for Harvey Norman Communications.

Wright told ZDNet Australia  that the site would initially be promoted alongside compatible devices and broadband services in point of sale materials and catalogues. The idea of offering a number of free downloads as a bonus offer to purchasers of specific products is being considered.

Destra has agreements with major record companies including BMG, EMI, Warner and Sony giving it access to 500,000 tracks, of which 350,000 are currently available for download. More are being added each week, said Destra's CEO Domenic Carosa, adding "if I had 100 people, we'd get it done a lot quicker".

Other labels are likely to join the program. "We're continually speaking to record companies in Australia and overseas," he said, "every week we've got new content".

Destra works on a B2B2C model, effectively acting as a wholesaler between the record companies and retail sites such as those operated by JB HiFi, HMV, Sanity, Dick Smith Electronics, Strathfield and now Harvey Norman. This arrangement provides consumers with the reassurance of dealing with a familiar retailer, said Carosa.

The network is likely to expand further: "We're in discussions with a number of other retailers and media companies," he said.

According to Carosa, the market for downloaded music is growing quickly but still only represents 0.001 percent of Australia's AU$1 billion music market. At this stage, Destra's biggest competitors are the 'free' peer-to-peer networks, he said.

Destra encodes tracks using WMA, with DRM restrictions that limit copying to a maximum of three CDs and a portable media player. "We have built-in technology that gives the record companies protection from copyright violation, but will allow customers to make copies to CD for playing in their car or portable CD player," said Carosa.

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