EMI Recorded Music, home to the Beatles and Beastie Boys, announced plans Wednesday (May 10) to sell music by download beginning July 1.
"This is the first step in building the necessary framework and infrastructure for the digital future," Richard Cottrell, president of EMI Music Distribution, said in a press release.
The announcement fills in one more piece of the puzzle for the five major labels' digital distribution plans. Last month, Sony began selling downloads such as Lauryn Hill's "Everything Is Everything" (RealAudio excerpt) on its Web site (www.sonymusic.com/thestore). BMG (Britney Spears) also said in April it would begin selling singles by download in June.
Universal (Shania Twain) said in January that it would sell downloads as early as mid-year. Time Warner (Madonna), which is completing a merger with Internet service provider America Online, presumably will announce its own download plans in the months ahead.
Among the artists slated for EMI's program are rapper Snoop Dogg, R&B singers D'Angelo, Janet Jackson and Tina Turner, progressive rockers Pink Floyd, pop acts Spice Girls and Selena and traditional crooner Frank Sinatra.
EMI, which also owns a stake in online custom CD company Musicmaker, will sell more than 100 albums and 40 singles in the copy-protected Windows Media format through online retailers. Prices will mirror traditional CD and single prices, the company said.