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Online label offers free MP3s

Downtown Records, Rojas team on venture

A relatively young label that had one of the biggest hits of 2006 has entered the blogosphere to make music available for free.

Downtown Records, which has Gnarls Barkley and Cold War Kids on its roster, and Engadget co-founder Peter Rojas have launched RCRD LBL, an online music label offering free, sponsor-supported MP3s. Site launched Thursday and featured music from several indie acts, including Justice and Bad Veins, both of which generated considerable buzz at last month’s CMJ Music Marathon in New York.

Puma, the Virgin America airline and Nikon have signed on as sponsors.

Website will feature free exclusive tracks from new and marquee acts, many of which have been recorded specifically for RCRD LBL. The first exclusive is a remix of Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” produced by Benny Blanco and featuring verses from Spank Rock and Mos Def. Other artists expected to supply music are Eagles of Death Metal, Spank Rock, Tokyo Police Club and Sam Champion.

In addition to songs in the RCRD LBL catalog, the site will allow users to download exclusive, promotional and catalog tracks from the company’s extended family of labels, which include Dim Mak Records, Downtown Records, Warp Records, Ghostly Intl., Modular Records and Drowned in Sound.

Every element of RCRD LBL, from streaming radio and photos to videos and tour dates, is offered as a branded widget, providing sponsors with a way to integrate themselves into the experience of the site itself.

RCRD LBL also is creating a custom-programmed audio channel for Virgin America flights.

Downtown Records co-founder and chief exec Josh Deutsch will be RCRD LBL chairman; Rojas will serve as CEO. Music blogger, editor and marketer Elliot Aronow is creative director and A&R rep, and Downtown Records A&R exec Michael Howe will handle A&R responsibilities for RCRD LBL as well.

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