Music giants Sony and Vivendi Universal are to form a company called Duet, which will offer a rival service to Napster.
According to BBC news, the two labels, who have on their rosta artists including Elton John, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez, will allow users to get access to music for a subscription fee in a secure environment.
Speaking to French newspaper La Tribune, Vivendi’s Jean-Marie Messier said: “In Duet, we have something to start with and no one can imagine launching online music without the world’s number one and number two companies…we hope to licence 50% of the world’s music…
“We often thought an alliance with Napster would be the only possibility but I don’t believe it is right to give the advantage to pirates.”
Vivendi Universal own Universal Music, who along with Sony were amongst the major labels who brought a copyright infringement case against Napster last year. They claim Napster allows users to download MP3 files of songs for free, infringing on their artists’ copyright.
Napster have offered the major record companies $1 billion over five years in an attempt to settle the dispute. They have also announced details of how Napster will become a subscription service, whereby users pay a monthly fee to download MP3s with the proceeds paid to relevant copyright holders.