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EMI's catalog comes to Project Playlist

It's the second major label deal for the social music service, which hired former Facebook exec Owen Van Natta as its CEO last year, after Sony BMG.

Buzzworthy social music service Project Playlist has signed another major-label deal: EMI Music has licensed its catalog to the company, which hired former Facebook executive Owen Van Natta as its CEO in November and says that over 52 million playlists have been created to date by its over 42 million registered users.

The first major-label deal for Project Playlist was with Sony BMG, an agreement announced in December. The company had previously been sued by a number of big players in the music industry, including EMI, because of the amount of unauthorized content uploaded to its servers. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) also threw its hat in the lawsuit ring, and social networks MySpace and Facebook banned Project Playlist's embeddable widgets.

Music industry sources say that the RIAA's suit on behalf of the major labels was not dropped and that the industry group is still overseeing the case even though Sony BMG and EMI are not part of it.

"It is crucial for us to continue connecting our users with more of their favorite music," Van Natta said in a release. "This partnership will provide us with a wide-ranging selection of content to satisfy our users' appetites to share and purchase music. We are excited to now have both EMI and Sony BMG music catalogs available and we hope to continue to expand and enhance our service."

There are plenty of competitors for Project Playlist in the social music space: other big players are MySpace's own MySpace Music, which reportedly had sought Van Natta to spearhead the project; (owned by CNET News publisher CBS Interactive); and Imeem, which was rumored to be in talks with Project Playlist for a possible merger. We haven't heard much about that recently.

This post was updated at 10:28 a.m. PT with information about the RIAA's suit against Project Playlist.