FullAudio Makes Its 1st Deal With a Major Label


Online music service FullAudio Corp. has crossed another important threshold, lining up its first licensing deal with a major record label.

The Chicago-based company, which plans to offer downloadable music on a subscription basis, is expected to announce today that EMI Group’s EMI Recorded Music has granted it a license covering most of EMI’s catalog. It previously announced groundbreaking licensing deals with EMI Music Publishing, the industry’s largest publisher, and BMG Music Publishing.

Meanwhile, another online music company licensed by EMI, Streamwaves, is quietly rolling out its initial subscription service, called HigherWaves. It will give subscribers access to an online jukebox with thousands of Christian songs for about $14 per month, Chief Executive Jeff Tribble said.

The world’s third-largest record company, EMI has a particularly deep catalog of Christian music and also is strong in jazz, classical and some types of pop. Its labels include Blue Note, Capitol, Angel and Virgin.

Streamwaves’ services, which soon will include a country music offering, let subscribers listen to songs on demand but not save copies of them. FullAudio plans to rent songs to consumers, who can keep them for a month before having to renew their rentals or choose new songs.


Officials at EMI Recorded Music said they view the FullAudio service as a way to let consumers sample music, not build up music collections. The goal is to spur CD sales by introducing people to music and artists that match their tastes.

FullAudio is one of a new breed of online music distributors, competing primarily with two ventures controlled by the labels: MusicNet, which is backed by EMI, BMG and Warner Music Group, and Pressplay, which is backed by Universal Music Group and Sony. Rather than offering service directly to consumers, FullAudio plans to work through Internet service providers, consumer-electronics companies and major Web sites.