Online music start-up Echo Networks will be granted a license to offer on-demand streams and downloads of Warner Music Group recordings. Echo will use the license to launch an online music subscription service, slated for release in the first quarter 2002. The service will let people search for and listen to Warner Music recordings for a fee.
With its service, Echo is trying to step into a ring already crowded by the recording industry. Major record labels have banded into two camps that are trying to launch their own subscription services: MusicNet, supported by Real Networks, AOL Time Warner (which owns Warner Music), Bertelsmann and EMI Recorded Music; and Pressplay, supported by Vivendi Universal and Sony. MusicNet and Pressplay are expected to launch by the end of the year.