Studio to sell own music at Internet store

Fox has become the first studio to enter the fast-growing digital music space, launching an online music store Thursday that sells downloads from its collection of songs and scores.

Like Apple’s iTunes and its many competitors, store on the FoxMusic.com site sells 99¢ downloads of individual tracks.

In a bid to take advantage of another booming digital music segment, it offers ringtones based on Fox music that users can order and download directly to their cell phones.

Fox already sells its music through many of the online stores and ringtone services and partners with labels to create soundtrack albums. But the music store will let the studio get into the business of selling its own catalog for the first time.

“This is an opportunity to see if for a little investment we can start a viable digital business and not simply cede all of our distribution,” said Fox Music prexy Robert Kraft.

Studio will post nearly all its themes and cues from music and television scores along with those original songs for which it was able to maintain the rights. Music store has about 10,000 tracks.

Kraft noted that digital stores have let his division identify and promote individual queues from film scores that prove popular. Studio took one from “Man on Fire” that sold well on iTunes, for instance, and created a techno remix that generated additional sales online.

While 99¢ downloads have proved popular, their low price makes for minimal profits. Launching its own store lets Fox take a larger chunk of the revenue.

It also lets the studio cross-promote other products. Music store will give users loyalty points for downloads that, when collected, can be redeemed for DVDs, HarperCollins books and other products from parent company News Corp.

Store is being built and managed by digital commerce company Navio Systems.

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