EMI Joins Legal P2P Service Mashboxx

Legal P2P service Mashboxx, founded by former Grokster CEO Wayne Rosso, announced Friday it had signed an agreement with music label EMI to license its digital library. Mashboxx is preparing to launch in beta, and it previously inked deals with Sony BMG and Universal.

The concept behind Mashboxx is to enable customers to swap files just as they have on previous services such as Grokster, iMesh and Kazaa. The software even links into to existing P2P networking for locating artists, albums and tracks. The difference is that Mashboxx will filter the results based on its own database of licenses.

If a song matches one that a record label such as EMI has authorized for trade or sale, the user can sample the song up to five times or purchase it for 99 cents. After five listens, the song will only play back as a 30-second sample, like those offered by Apple's iTunes Music Store.

A label can also block a song entirely, preventing it from being downloaded or purchased. In order to achieve such identification, Mashboxx is utilizing technology from Snocap, the startup formed by Napster founder Shawn Fanning. Snocap creates a "digital fingerprint" for tracks in a label's library.

Songs that are purchased through Mashboxx can be burned onto CD up to seven times, played back on up to five PCs, and transfered to Windows Media-compatible portable devices.

"When it rolls out, Mashboxx will be a no-obligation way for fans to really immerse themselves in discovering music, turning their friends on to what they like and getting excited about artists and music they've not yet heard," remarked David Munns, CEO of EMI Music North America. "It has the potential to be a very good revenue stream for those who make their living from creating and investing in music."

Mashboxx isn't the only P2P service going legit. iMesh has also signed a deal with EMI for its legal file sharing service, although the product has yet to truly take off in the marketplace.

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