HP partners on music download service in Europe

PC maker will distribute U.K. music provider Omnifone's MusicStation service on computers sold in 10 European countries.

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Hewlett-Packard has partnered with Ominfone to distribute the U.K. music provider's MusicStation service on PCs sold in Europe, Ominfone announced Sunday.

The service, which boasts unlimited access to more than 6.5 million music tracks from the four major recording labels, distributes music in DRM-protected WMA files. Songs are downloaded to the user's computer for online and offline play, but the songs are playable only as long as the subscription is active.

MusicStation Desktop will be preloaded on 16 HP models sold in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland. The service will be free for 14 days, at which time users can sign up for a monthly subscription, which will cost 8.99 pounds ($14.47) in the U.K. and 9.99 euros ($14.10) in most of the other countries.

MusicStation competes with Apple's iTunes download service and the Spotify streaming service, as well as Amazon.com's MP3 Download Store.

This isn't HP's first foray into bundling music service on its PCs; the company dumped iTunes in 2006 to distribute RealNetworks' Rhapsody music service on PCs sold in the United States.