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Loudeye song service thinks small

Its IndieSource program is designed to help companies building online song stores get easier access to independent music labels.

Loudeye is providing a broader catalog of songs for companies looking to set up online music stores.

The Seattle-based provider of digital media services announced on Tuesday a program called IndieSource that's designed to help companies building online song stores get easier access to music from small labels. IndieSource will let the independent labels license their music to Loudeye, which will in turn offer the songs to digital music stores.

Digital music stores are still new, and deals have tended to be with major record labels. A fourth of the music produced today comes from independent labels, rather than from major recording companies, Loudeye said.

The best-known online music stores are probably Apple Computer's iTunes and the revamped Napster. But a whole host of others, from Buy.com's BuyMusic to an online offering from Wal-Mart Stores, have either set up shop or plan to do so soon.

Even software giant Microsoft, which has partnered with Loudeye, is readying a music store, set to debut in the second half of the year. Loudeye's Digital Music Store and iRadio Service, meanwhile, contains 100 preprogrammed music channels based on Microsoft's Windows Media 9 Series technology.

Also on Tuesday, Loudeye announced a distribution agreement with Saregama India, a company that represents more than half the recorded music in India. Under the agreement, Loudeye has the rights to distribute Saregama's music catalog to online music stores globally.

Independent labels and music representation companies that have struck deals with Loudeye include Avatar Records, Stern's Music, Paradise Artists, Maggie's Music, Rebel Records and Roadhouse Records.

"Companies across all segments of the digital music space have communicated a strong demand for independent label services that can help them differentiate their offering, attract a broader customer base and increase revenue," Jeff Cavins, Loudeye's chief executive officer, said in a statement.