Indie bands sign up for legal MP3 sharing

With a promised launch date of 4 October, there's no news of which - if any - major record labels will make deals with Wippit, the UK's legitimate answer to Napster

As first predicted by ZDNet UK, Wippit-- the UK's first legal MP3-sharing service -- has made a deal that will allow it to offer songs from big-name musicians such as Paul Oakenfold, Badly Drawn Boy and Tricky.

Wippit's agreement with the Association of Independent Musicians (AIM) will give its users access to songs released by over 550 small record labels. However, Wippit has failed to reveal details of any deals with major record labels. It had been planning to announce the names of the major labels earlier this month, but delayed the announcement due to the terrorist attacks in America.

If Wippit is to succeed then it will need to give subscribers access to wide range of popular music. Chief executive Paul Myers has told ZDNet News that he is hoping to persuade at least two major record labels to allow their songs to be available through Wippit. The company is now planning to reveal which companies have signed up when the service goes live, on 4 October.

Billed as "the world's first legitimate peer-to-peer music service", Wippit's song-sharing service is scheduled to launch in both Europe and America. It will offer a similar service to that of Napster, with a crucial difference -- the agreement of the record labels whose songs are transferred. Wippit users must pay £50 per year to use the service -- and the company will pay a royalty to the relevant copyright owners every time a song is shared.

AIM, and its sister company Musicindie, recently signed a content deal with Napster, but it was keen to also offer its support to Wippit. "It's great to see this innovative service being launched. Wippit worked closely with Musicindie to address the needs of AIM's members resulting in a deal that suits all. We wish Wippit the very best of success." said Musicindie's managing director Gavin Robertson.

Wippit has also signed an agreement with AudioBooksForFree.com. This deal will give Wippit users access to audio recordings of novels including Dracula. Myers claimed that this deal showed that Wippit's appeal would extend beyond the teenage market.

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