UK digital music distributor Wippit launched its à la carte, platform-agnostic music download service this morning.

The company – which already offers a subscription-based service for Windows – is offering 150,000 tracks from EMI, BMG and 200 independent labels through its new service, including current rising stars such as Franz Ferdinand. Tracks cost from 29p.

Customers can buy music when they want it in MP3 format using a credit card, or, a new initiative for a Web-based service, by SMS messaging, available only to UK customers initially. The latter feature is designed to allow younger music fans without credit cards to buy music legally, the company told Macworld.

Wippit into shape

Wippit CEO and founder Paul Myers said: "Wippit will continue to be the leader in high-quality, great value music downloads. And now we've got a lot more great new music too. Winning over those people that were unable to purchase music downloads legally because they do not have, or are not old enough to hold credit cards is of utmost importance to us, too.

"We're ahead in addressing the younger market with our SMS billing solution – a real incentive for kids without credit or debit cards not to download music illegally."

SMS payment support will be gradually introduced to other countries, including the US, Germany, Spain and Sweden. All audio files downloaded using the service can be burned to CDs or carried on music players.

Online music revolution begins

British Phonographic Industry chairman Peter Jamieson welcomed the move: We congratulate Wippit on further extending the choice of legal online music services to the UK consumer. It's the result of a huge amount of hard work on the part of Wippit and the UK labels. Month by month, we are seeing an increase in the quality and quantity of legal online music services in the UK. The legitimate online music revolution is beginning to happen."

The company has raised the price of its non-Mac friendly subscription service to £49.99 to "reflect the additional content" it now offers. Individual downloads cost 29p, 49p, 79p and 99p.

The company is also offering Windows software for download using its service.