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New subscription music service launched
Thursday, May 17 2001
by Rory Kelleher

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A new on-line music subscription service, www.vitaminic.ie, has been launched in Ireland and the UK.

For a subscription of STG29.99 for six months or STG49.99 for 12 months users can download an unlimited amount of music from the site.

"Before the rulings against Napster offering free downloads, selling music on the Internet was like trying to sell beer in a free bar," said Chris Cass, managing director of Vitaminic UK and Ireland.

He said Internet users who had been downloading music for free had no interest in paying for songs and tracks individually. Subsequently the company decided launch a subscription-based service.

"We are selling the subscriptions both as a consumer and a wholesale product in that other businesses will be able to bundle a subscription with other products as an inducement," said Cass.

Cass said for example a bank looking to sign up students for bank accounts instead of putting money into their account to attract them could offer a free subscription to prospective customers.

Likewise Cass believes that MP3 player sellers, to distinguish themselves from their competitors, could also use the subscriptions.

"Subscription music services like ours have often been talked about in Europe but we are the first to actually do it," said Cass.

Rights owners and artists receive a share of the revenues from the subscriptions based on the contribution their songs and albums make up of the overall volume of music downloaded from the site.

Vitaminic has over 1.5 million active users across Europe.

The company, which is based in Italy, announced revenues of EUR1.3 million for the first quarter of 2001 an increase of 96 percent from the fourth quarter of 2000.

The company employs 100 people throughout Europe.

It made a loss of EUR2.64 million on its operating margin down from a loss of EUR5.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2000.

Net cash totalled EUR24.4 million.

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