AOL Music Now Service Gets Enhancements

AOL, Time Warner’s Internet division, on Tuesday plans to launch a new version of its AOL Music Now Web download service, and enhancements will include the addition of music videos—which can be downloaded an infinite number of times for $9.95 per month—as well as streaming radio and more community features, the Associated Press reports via Yahoo News.

Approximately 2.5 million songs and thousands of music videos will be available via AOL’s revamped service, and audio tracks will go for $0.99 each while videos will sell for $1.99, according to the AP—the same prices that Apple Computer charges for songs and videos on its U.S. market-leading iTunes Music Store.

In addition to the option of paying $9.99 a month for unlimited song and video downloads, AOL will offer a $14.99-a-month plan that will allow users to transfer songs from their computers to portable music players that don’t have digital rights management software installed to prevent such actions, the AP reports.

Users of AOL’s new music service will have access to more than 200 AOL and XM Satellite Radio stations, as well as functions that enable them to access other users’ song lists or mixes, the AP reports.

AOL first tried its hand in the online music download space in 2003 with a store—powered by MusicNet—that was available only to its Internet subscribers, and in 2005 the company bought out Web music service MusicNow, according to the AP. It launched a prototype version of AOL Music Now last fall, and allowed any Web surfer to access its content, the AP reports.

Amit Shafrir, AOL Music Now president, said, “The previous service was very simple in construct, with the main goal of allowing people to listen to unlimited music on demand. The new service has a lot more features to it,” according to the AP.

AOL also operates another ad-driven online music locale whereby users can access some content for no charge, the AP reports.

The announcement comes as the online music space is thriving—due largely to Apple and its iPod, which revolutionized the Web music and traditional record industries.

MTV recently launched its MTV Urge download service in attempt to cash in on Apple’s success, and a handful of other firms are also attempting to gain entrance to the lucrative market.

In related news, a new music download service, called SpiralFrog, on Tuesday announced a deal with Universal Music Group to offer the firm’s music content for free in the United States and Canada.

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