U Music France tunes up online prototype

E-Compil music downloading site to bow Nov. 2

PARIS — While music fans wait patiently for the release of Pressplay, the online music joint venture between Vivendi’s Universal Music and Sony, Universal Music France is launching a prototype of the online music service in France on Nov. 2.

Named e-Compil, the music downloading site will give the music giant a chance to get the lay of the land before launching the real thing in the French market.

“Our idea is to test the market, to learn what people want. We’re preparing the terrain for Pressplay,” said Pascal Negre, CEO of Universal Music France.

E-Compil will be offer only 600 titles, from rock to classical music, at its debut, adding 50 each subsequent week.

Service will target the 25- to 40-year-old demo and not the 15-25 category that was the backbone of Napster and similar ventures. In the belief that the older target group, unlike their younger counterparts, want more than just music, e-Compil will offer biographies of the artists and links to their Web sites.

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