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iLike's download store debuts

Famous for its popular Facebook app, iLike is making a foray into music downloads and will offer tunes from all four big record companies.

iLike CEO Ali Partovi

Social-networking service iLike opened a music download store on Friday, and has begun selling MP3s from all the major music labels.

On Wednesday, CNET News reported that iLike would soon open a store and offer song downloads from at least three of the major labels. The site actually is selling music from all four big record companies: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI.

The prices are comparable with those found at iTunes and Amazon. Songs range in price from 89 cents to $1.29.

Companies competing in the ad-supported music space have struggled to generate cash as advertisers are reluctant to pay them premium rates. Users aren't necessarily looking at a computer screen when listening to music and this makes it hard to market to them. Imeem, which streams music free of charge to users and supports itself through ad sales, is another service that has recently started testing a download store.

In Wednesday's story about the new store, I wrote that iLike would challenge iTunes, which is the overwhelming power in sales of music downloads, and anybody selling downloads should count Apple as a competitor. Ali Partovi, iLike's CEO disagreed and said the company will continue to offer links to iTunes for users who want to continue buying music from Apple.

"We have always linked to iTunes and will continue to do so," Partovi said. "We're not challenging iTunes, but complementing it with a faster, more immediate option that's better tuned for the impulse-buy: by allowing you to purchase in-page without leaving the Web site you were on.

"Our goal is to provide an immediate, in-page music buying experience for music fans," he continued. "Today the service is available to users in the U.S. but we also intend to roll it out across our applications and platforms over time."