Universal Music Group will begin trials this week of a digital music format called Bluematter which will offer Netizens music files and informational content over the Web.
Songs in the Bluematter format come with enhanced content, such as biographies, photographs, lyrics and credits. Users can access files with RealNetworks’ RealPlayer software. InterTrust Technology will provide encryption software that prevents the songs from being pirated.
The label will initially offer 60 songs from artists including Blink 182, 98 Degrees and Smash Mouth, with more songs to be added over time. Users will receive $4 credit when they log on the site to download the songs.
The trial service will be available through select music and retail sites and will allow UMG to test strategies for future businesses. Universal becomes the third of the five major labels to offer part of their catalog online.