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Apple rival offers one-cent songs in U.K.

On Demand Distribution launches its streaming service the day before the iTunes music store opens in Europe.

A day ahead of the launch of Apple Computer's iTunes music store in Europe, local rival On Demand Distribution, or OD2, on Monday rolled out a new streaming service aimed at bolstering its appeal against the powerful newcomer. As announced in January, the new service will allow listeners to pay just .01 euro (1 cent) per song, without being billed a monthly subscriber fee. The streaming service is available in France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom, the same countries where the company's download service is available.

As before, customers can also pay .99 euro ($1.20) to download a song permanently. OD2, which works in conjunction with Microsoft's MSN and a handful of other companies, uses Windows Media Player as a host. OD2 previously has had few rivals in the European download market, but it will face stiff competition from Apple and from Napster, which recently launched its service in the British market.