Cable- and satellite-network operators will have a role to play in the emerging digital-music industry, said insiders gathered at the Digital Music Forum in New York on Monday.

"The time for online music is now" was the focus and title of the event's keynote speech, given by Roxio CEO Chris Gorog at the event.

Roxio last year acquired the remaining assets of music-swapping service Napster, which had been put out of business by a lawsuit over copyright from the Recording industry Association of America (RIAA). Roxio recently announced its plans to enter the online-music-service market using its Napster brand.

"One might suggest it's a knucklehead time to join the fray, the landscape is full of the buried bodies of people who tried to do this," Gorog said.

Gorog avoided comment on Roxio's music service plans, but said several trends suggest "legitimate" music services - ones that have deals with music companies for copyright material - could succeed.

"The labels have agreed to the download-&-burn model, allowing consumers to choose individual songs to download and copy onto CDs," he said. Previously, music services that had legitimate deals with music companies frequently did not allow users to copy songs onto CDs.

Another positive trend is a willingness to let consumers pay for one song at a time rather than charging a set fee for a set number of downloads per month, Gorog said.

Different types of consumers will support different service models, said Sean Ryan, CEO of Inc.

"There is room for the subscription and the a la carte model," Ryan said.