Virgin and Universal Music have signed a new deal overseas to launch an unlimited music download service.
The new service will be offered as part of Virgin's UK broadband service will allow unlimited downloads of Universal artists for a monthly fee as well as a second option for limited downloads at a lower price.
The companies vowed that the service will not use any DRM protection software and users will be able to keep the downloaded tracks for as long as they wish. However, Universal also said that it would work with Virgin to keep the downloaded songs from being redistributed to other users.
The move is a first between a major label and an ISP. Haunted by unauthorized downloading and spurred by the success of online stores such as iTunes, the labels have long been searching for a format to reap profits from legal downloads.
"In terms of both convenience and value, our new music service will be superior to anything that's available online today and provides a fair deal for both consumers and artists," proclaimed Neil Berkett, chief executive of Virgin Media.
The companies did not give word on a possible launch date or pricing plans for the new service.