Pressplay, Partners Launch Music Subscriptions

Despite numerous delays and a name change, pressplay has opened the doors to its online music service originally announced in May, 2000. A joint venture between Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group, pressplay will offer music from its own catalog, as well as EMI and many independents via subscriptions starting at $9.95 USD. pressplay will also feature the ability to burn a limited number of downloaded songs onto CD, upping the ante with RealNetworks-backed competitor MusicNet.


pressplay subscriptions will be initially offered through MSN Music, Yahoo! Music, and Roxio - makers of Easy CD Creator. Songs will be distributed in Windows Media format and play only using Microsoft's Windows Media Player, due to digital rights management restrictions. Although subscribers may burn a limited number of tracks to CD, downloaded songs may not be transferred to a portable device. pressplay is placing its bets on streaming, offering less downloads but more streams than MusicNet.

Pricing for pressplay membership is as follows:

  • Basic Plan - $9.95: 300 streams, 30 downloads
  • Silver Plan - $14.95: 500 streams, 50 downloads, 10 burns
  • Gold Plan - $19.95: 750 streams, 75 downloads, 15 burns
  • Platinum Plan - $24.95: 1000 streams, 100 downloads, 20 burns

"For people passionate about music, today marks a new way to experience the world's most popular music that is easy-to-use, reliable, and secure," said pressplay President and CEO Andy Schuon. "We have worked hard to create a compelling online music experience, with unique programming, a broad selection of the world's most popular music and the freedom of portability."

The announcement comes just two weeks after RealNetworks launched its RealOne subscriptions, and both AOL and Napster unveiled preview versions of their own MusicNet-based services. pressplay plans to expand its own offering through additional affiliates by the end of the year, including MP3.com.

For the first 90 days, users may subscribe to the Silver Plan at the Basic Plan price. A 14-day free trial will be available for a limited time, which includes 200 streams and 20 downloads. For more information and links to pressplay affiliates, visit pressplay.com.

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