Virgin Media announced an agreement with Universal Music Group to introduce a new digital music service promising DRM-free unlimited downloads optimized for any MP3-compatible device, including mobile phones and Apple's iPod.
According to Virgin Media, the service will enable any of the quad-play provider's broadband subscribers to both stream and download as many music tracks and albums as they want from the Universal catalog in exchange for a monthly subscription fee--consumers may keep all music they download.
Virgin Media adds it will introduce an "entry-level" offer for consumers who may not want an unlimited service. According to Virgin Media, the music service will launch later this year--the company adds it is in negotiations with other major and independent labels and publishers to bolster its catalog prior to rollout.
Virgin Media and Universal Music (home to artists including U2, Amy Winehouse and Elton John) said they will work together to protect UMG's intellectual property and slash unauthorized distribution of the label's content--their plans include a series of different strategies to educate file sharers about online piracy and to raise awareness of legal alternatives.
Virgin Media adds that repeat offenders will face a temporary suspension of Internet access, although no customers will face permanent disconnection--nor will the operator institute network monitoring or interception of customer traffic.