Digital-music broadcaster Music Choice Europe has agreed to license Microsoft's Windows Media 9 software as the basis for a packaged broadband music-subscription service targeting European Internet companies.

The move comes as Microsoft is looking to establish a foothold in newly-emerging technological markets.

The digital broadcaster plans to market the service to European ISPs (Internet service providers) seeking to differentiate their broadband services and tap new revenue streams, Microsoft said at international music-business trade show Midem yesterday.

Music Choice will offer ISPs a complete package for the secure delivery and playback of high-quality audio through broadband networks, according to Microsoft.

The package will use Windows Media 9 Series and Windows Server 2003 for secure encoding and delivery of content, the software vendor said. It will include the new DRM (Digital Rights Management) support feature available in the Media 9 Series product, according to Microsoft.

Music Choice is a public company listed on the London Stock Exchange. Its key shareholders are British Sky Broadcasting (BSkyB), Warner Music Group and Sony.

Microsoft is in a group of indirect investors - which includes Apple's current processor manufacturer Motorola - whose combined stake is around 1 per cent, according to the Music Choice Europe Web site.

The first commercial release "using an early version of the Windows Media Data Session Toolkit" includes the US version of Sinead O'Connor's "Sean-Nós Nua" on Vanguard Records. O?Connor is the cousin of Macworld Deputy Editor, David Fanning.