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HP launches digital music venture in Europe

Mon, 01/25/2010 - 8:01am
The Associated Press

Hewlett-Packard Co. said Monday it was partnering with U.K. mobile music startup Omnifone Ltd. to launch a subscription music service on its personal computers in Europe, moving into a market dominated by Apple Inc.'s iTunes.

Under the partnership, HP will offer a digital music service — called HP MusicStation — on about 16 of its new PC models across 10 European countries. Users of new HP PCs in nations including the U.K., France, and Germany could use the service to legitimately download and share millions of music tracks on their computer, HP and Omnifone said.

The service comes with a monthly subscription fee of 8.99 pounds ($14.50) in the U.K., or euro9.99 in other parts of Europe, the companies said in a statement. A subscription enables users to have unlimited access to over 6.5 million tracks from Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, EMI Music and Warner Music International, the companies said.

The subscription-based service contrasts with iTunes, which sells songs to users by track or album.

MusicStation is pre-installed in a range of new HP Pavilion, Compaq Presario and Envy models, Omnifone said.

"Starting today, HP PC users in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Austria, Belgium and Switzerland can try MusicStation for free for up to 14 days, get access to millions of tracks, keep their favorite tracks permanently and share music and playlists with other MusicStation users," said HP Europe, Middle East and Africa's Charl Snyman.

HP is the world's No. 1 seller of personal computers.

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