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Music service Turntable.fm signing major labels

The startup that sparked a lot of attention is close to finalizing licensing agreements with most of the major record companies.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval

Turntable.fm, the service that allows users share music within virtual "rooms," is closing in on becoming a fully licensed service, CNET has learned.

A cross between Napster and radio, Turntable has already signed EMI to a recorded-music deal and is close to penning agreements with Universal Music Group and Sony, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the talks.

The music service is also still in talks with Warner Music Group. A spokesman for EMI declined to comment. Representatives from Turntable.fm and the other labels did not respond to interview requests.

A legal Turntable will potentially throw a powerful new competitor into the digital-music sector.

Turntable made quite the splash last summer. Not since Spotify launch had critics showered a company with such favorable reviews. The service enables users to create virtual listening rooms and then invite others to join while the user plays music and becomes the room's DJ.

There were initial fears that the site would not survive a legal challenge, but then the company signed an agreement last year with the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, the organization that collects royalties for those music creators. After that, Turntable began negotiating with the four major record companies.

It stands to reason that we may get some announcements from Turntable.fm next week during the music portion of the SXSW Conference.