A new UK-born music service has been announced.
Dubbed The Music Engine, the service offers to digitize existing music catalogues for labels at no charge and offer those tracks for sale. The company will digitize and store label repertoire for free, and charge 2p per megabyte for delivery of downloads to the buyer.
The Music Engine also offers free creation of monophonic, polyphonic and true-tone ring-tones of selected tracks. Additional mobile-friendly services include logos, wallpaper and SMS/MMS content.
The Music Engine said: "The service at once cuts away entry barriers to the fast-growing download market and enables labels to make some 50 per cent more than they would through a digital retailer (such as iTunes or MyCokeMusic) – bringing in a bigger cut for label and artist.
The company claims a label can make up to 75p on a 99p download, which it estimates is "probably over 50 per cent more on average than they would at retail".
"It also empowers labels and artists to develop their brands and build stronger, direct relationships with fans – a model pioneered by cutting-edge indies and tipped for growth."
The company is speaking with major distributors with a view to trialing its new service, and has already struck deals to provide downloads and ringtones to Siouxsie, the Creatures and label Hydrogen Jukebox.
Production Director Kristjan Maris said: "Music is fundamentally about the relationship between artist or label and their fans. While this has been traditionally controlled through retail, the Internet is helping to tip the scales back towards artist and label. The launch of our free digitization service represents a key step in that direction."
The company is offering to encode tracks into whichever format the labels prefer, "though at this stage, most are indicating a preference for MP3", the company said.