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Sony Music licenses music to Listen.com

Sony Music Entertainment on Monday announced a licensing deal with online music company Listen.com, becoming the third major recording firm in a week to make its music available to Listen’s Rhapsody subscription service.

Sony Music is a unit of Sony Corp.

The Sony deal follows Listen’s agreements announced last week with EMI, a unit of EMI Group Plc and BMG, a unit of Bertelsmann AG, underscoring the recording industry’s new willingness to cut deals with independent online music distributors.

Until recently the big labels had been slow to license content to services competing with their own platforms, MusicNet and Pressplay.

But the recording giants have begun to feel pressure from a U.S. Department of Justice antitrust probe aimed at these two services to determine if these big music companies have colluded to set rates and terms for their own services.

Listen.com launched its service called Rhapsody in early December but its content had been limited to music from independent labels until these deals were announced.

“It is a priority to us to make our music available to fans in as many legal outlets as possible, and legitimate online services such as Rhapsody are very important in that effort,” said Fred Ehrlich, president, new technology and business development, Sony Music Entertainment.

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