Although there are several Web sites offering similar services, this is the first time a major music retailer has offered its customers such a service -- something the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) says won't stop the tide of support for the MP3 format.
Jollyon Benn, Operations Executive at the BPI says, "If people are downloading personalised music for free on the Internet, I can't see why they'd want to go into a shop and pay for it."
Enesto Schmitt, of Peoplesound.com, which will offer free personalised music in MP3 and Real Audio formats in the Autumn, thinks Virgin's move is sound, but lacks imagination. "Virgin know that people are already copying on the music on the Internet. They are probably thinking, instead of just letting them do that, for which they get no revenue, they might as well give people what they want and make some money out of it."
The UK offices of Virgin deny any knowledge of this project and say there are, as yet, no plans to offer a similar service in the UK.