Oxfam joins music-download business

The charity is launching its own online music service, with profits going to benefit those in need

With the long-awaited launch of Napster in the UK not even a week old and iTunes' promised European arrival getting closer, it seems everyone wants a slice of the music downloads market these days. The latest entrant into the pay-per-song fray, however, is raising a few eyebrows.

Charity Oxfam has announced that its own song-shop offering -- bignoisemusic.com -- will launch on 26 May. Like other download sites, users will be able to stream or download a track -- prices for downloads start at 75p. The site will offer music fans 300,000 tracks from 12,000 artists.

Unlike other sites, though, any profits will be used to help projects in the UK and the third world.

While the idea of a site that gives music lovers the opportunity to do a bit of a good and avail themselves of the odd exclusive track might give surfers the additional push to check out Oxfam's shop, the charity will be entering an already overcrowded market.

With big names like Coke, Virgin and Napster having launched their own download sites and others like Microsoft and Dell gearing up to have a pop, Oxfam, unfortunately, may yet have a bit of a struggle to woo the downloading punters.