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Amazon taking on iTunes

E-tailer's tracks can be played on any device

Amazon.com intends to take a bite out of Apple’s iTunes business later this year when it bows a digital music download store with millions of songs from more than 12,000 record labels, including EMI Music.

The Seattle-based Net giant’s selling point: Each song and album will be available in the MP3 format and not bogged down by digital rights management software, so tracks will be playable on any digital audio player.

Beyond EMI, Amazon isn’t revealing who its other music suppliers are.

EMI is expected to make 100,000 tracks available from artists such as Coldplay, Radiohead, Norah Jones and Joss Stone.

The record label is already offering its digital catalog of music DRM-free on iTunes but is selling tracks for $1.29 per song, rather than the store’s regular 99¢ price for songs embedded with the DRM software.

Apple wants to make half of all songs it sells DRM-free by the end of the year. It currently offers more than 5 million songs.

Making all of its songs DRM-free “will pave the way for a much better customer experience,” said Bill Carr, Amazon.com VP of digital media. “Songs will be compatible with any customers’ devices they own today or in the future.”

Amazon.com has yet to announce a launch date for the new service or how much each download will cost.

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