Privately-held online music company Listen.com said on Monday it secured licensing agreements from several independent record labels for a subscription service it plans to launch this fall.
Through the deal, Listen.com joins a growing list of smaller independent subscription service providers, including FullAudio and Streamwaves, that have quietly been clinching licensing deals for content to compete with services like MusicNet and Pressplay, which are being backed by the giant recording companies and also plan to launch this fall.
MusicNet’s backers are RealNetworks Inc., AOL Time Warner Inc’s Warner Music, EMI Group Plcand Bertelsmann AG’s BMG. Zomba, a giant independent label, is also a partner in the venture.
MusicNet’s rival Pressplay is owned jointly by Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music and Sony Music.
Listen.com, which received some early financial backing from all five major record labels, said it continues to negotiate with them, as well as with other independents and music publishers.
The company said its agreements will enable it to offer thousands of songs from a range of artists and styles through Rhapsody, which will provide music from various independent labels, such as Alligator Records, Bar/None Records, Bloodshot Records, Eighteenth Street Lounge Music and Knitting Factory Records.
Its music will span a range of genres, including country, blues, rock, folk, trip-hop, house and jazz.
Rhapsody will provide songs from several leading artists, including 10,000 Maniacs, Duke Ellington, the Rembrandts, Frank Black and Buddy Guy.