Warner Music Group is the sole major not signed
Digital-music subscription service Pressplay has inked a licensing pact with its fourth major label group — Bertelsmann’s BMG division — giving the Netco access to more than 120,000 digitized tracks from such artists as Elvis Presley, OutKast and Christina Aguilera.Deal puts Pressplay just one license away from the Holy Grail of legitimate digital music: providing content from all five majors, who together rep 80% of the global music market. Warner Music Group is the sole major not signed to Pressplay, which is jointly owned by Vivendi Universal and Sony. Digital-music services have been working feverishly to address what are widely considered the two major stumbling blocks for subscription-based offerings: completeness of catalog and portability. Pressplay addressed the latter point earlier this year, allowing limited CD burning and transfers to portable devices in more expensive tiers of its service. It’s not clear whether a content deal is in the works with Warner, but Pressplay has said it will have the full quintuplet before the end of the year. Aside from BMG, company currently has deals with Universal Music, Sony Music and EMI. Rival MusicNet, which is backed by AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann, EMI and software maker RealNetworks, currently has tracks from Warner Music, BMG and EMI. However, the Netco has also vowed to sign up all five by year’s end. Neither service has attracted anything close to the multimillion-user base of free services like Kazaa and Limewire (both label-backed companies are said to have subscriber bases in the tens of thousands), but both say they have been enjoying strong customer growth in recent months.