The company has been after the Stones for two years, but the group have prevously been reluctant to license their music for online distribution. From today, however, tracks will be available for streaming or to burn onto cd at 47p a time. The initial contract gives Listen.com exclusive rights, but once the exclusivity clause expires the band's music is likely to be widely available from legal online music services.
Online distributors believe that the Stones licensing deal will help persuade other big-name acts, such as The Beatles, to license their songs for legal online distribution. They hope making this music available from legitimate sources will help with the crackdown on illegal file-sharing. David Munns, chairman of EMI Music North America, said: "This is a tremendous step forward in EMI's very aggressive push to expand and improve legitimate digital music services."
DiScuss: Is the opportunity to pay for music online likely to make people stop wanting to get music online for free?