7digital launched an all-MP3 digital music store featuring songs from all four major labels: Sony BMG, Universal, Warner, and EMI. The tracks are DRM-free and encoded at 320kbps.
Currently, the store is available to users in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria, France, Spain, Italy and Portugal. 7digital plans to launch stores in the U.S. and Canada in Q4.
The company reached a deal with Sony BMG -- the lone holdout -- bringing the store's catalog to about four million songs. Some music was previously available in Windows Media format, and MP3 "upgrades" for those tracks will be available for free.
Only EMI has offered its catalog for iTunes Plus, Apple's DRM-free offering, along with several smaller indie labels. The labels have had a long-term strategy of pressuring Apple by withholding DRM-free tracks while encouraging other music stores like Amazon MP3 and eMusic.
Tracks available in the 7digital store range from 79p to 99p (≈ $1.41 to $1.77), and albums are £5 (≈ $9) on up. MP3 files play on almost every digital music player made in the last 10 years, including every iPod.