Musicmatch has arranged digital music distribution deals with a raft of prominent independent labels.

The service now offers US music fans 500,000 tracks from the five majors and hundreds of independent labels, including Beggars, V2 and Koch Entertainment. 240,000 of the 500,000 songs are available to buy.

Musicmatch president Peter Csathy said: "These music deals allow us to offer a service we have envisioned for years – one that is friendly and compelling for consumers and puts artists in touch with their fans".

Among others, the company has secured deals with the following independents: Alligator Records; Ark 21 Records; Artemis Records; Blind Pig records; CD Baby; Epitaph; Fantasy; Hollywood; Madonna's Maverick Records; Moonshine; Roadrunner; Sanctuary; and Vagrant.

The Musicmatch service offers tracks in Windows Media 9 format to Windows users only. It is emerging as strong competition for Apple's iTunes Music Store, once that service appears for Windows later this year. The reborn Napster 2.0 service is is scheduled to begin testing tomorrow.