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Audiogalaxy swaps music services

The one-time file-swapping powerhouse, hobbled by a legal settlement with record labels, launches a legal music offer in place of its old download service.

One-time file-swapping powerhouse Audiogalaxy, hobbled by a legal settlement with record labels, has launched a legal music offer in place of its old download service.

The company has tapped Listen.com to offer a paid subscription service. The offer launched quietly on Audiogalaxy's site last week.

Audiogalaxy executives couldn't immediately be reached for comment. A Listen.com spokesman said his company wasn't worried about the file-swapper's history.

"We're interested in working with any partner who has an audience that loves music," said Listen.com spokesman Matt Graves.

At one time, Audiogalaxy was among the most popular of the post-Napster file-swapping networks, praised among music aficionados for a selection of obscure and out-of-print songs that exceeded its rivals. But not long after the Recording Industry Association of America sued the company in May, it agreed to add filters to its core service that blocked trading of most files.

Audiogalaxy's adoption of Listen.com's Rhapsody service is reminiscent of Napster's one-time goals, before that company ultimately collapsed under the weight of record industry lawsuits. Napster developed its own subscription music service and at one time had planned to give its subscribers access to the record label-backed MusicNet service.

Listen.com has been gaining considerable distribution momentum since winning rights to offer access to all five major record label's music. The company is focused on deals with broadband ISPs and has signed Time Warner's Road Runner, DirecTV, Charter Communications and Speakeasy.net. But it's also distributing through Web sites, including Lycos.com.

The Rhapsody service offers streaming access to a huge number of albums for $9.95 per month but does not allow listeners to download the songs.

Audiogalaxy is continuing to distribute its old "Satellite" file-swapping software, although the content available for download through the program is now sharply limited.