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Reciprocal to secure songs for pop label Zomba

The digital rights management company says it will provide e-commerce services for the label that represents artists including Britney Spears, 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.

Reciprocal today said it will provide e-commerce services for Zomba, a record label representing artists including Britney Spears, N Sync and the Backstreet Boys.

The announcement is the latest in a string of deals for the company, which has been in demand as record labels look for middlemen to help weld together the various technologies in the digital music supply chain.

Record labels are partnering with digital rights management (DRM) firms to develop secure digital distribution networks in an attempt to stem the unauthorized spread of music tracks unleashed by the popular MP3 file format.

The Recording Industry Association of America and some recording artists have filed lawsuits targeting companies they say are facilitating music piracy through the use of MP3s, notably the Napster music-swapping community.

Reciprocal is in a race with a handful of rivals to sign up key music clients for its services. Earlier this year, the company signed "Big Five" record labels Sony Entertainment and BMG Entertainment to use its DRM service for securely distributing digital content online.

Competitors include Amplified, Magex and Supertracks, all of which have made significant inroads in the DRM market in recent months.

In February, Amplified acquired music distribution heavyweight Valley Media, which has relationships with all of the Big Bive record labels.

Napster wildfire Supertracks, meanwhile, has signed up EMI Recorded Music, a deal that could become even more expansive in light of Time Warner's planned acquisition of the company. Last week, Supertracks also signed up 10 online music retailers.

Magex, based in the United Kingdom, last month closed an $80 million financing round and plans to use the money to expand its U.S. operations.