Universal to sell singles on USB drives

In another attempt to stop the rot in the music industry, Universal Music, the world’s biggest music company, is to release singles on USB memory sticks this month, The Times reports.

The company will charge around £4.99 for USB singles starting on October 29 with releases from Keane and Nicole, so will cost around £2 more than a CD single.

Apparently the hope is that fans will go for it, and be willing to pay the extra, for the additional usable storage capacity on the flash drives.

Brian Rose, the commercial director for Universal UK, said: "This is aimed at the younger, 12- to 24-year-olds, who no longer believe that the CD is as cool as it used to be".

If you think this sounds a bit flash in the pan from Universal, then think again because apparently the other three majors are planning flash drive releases too.

EMI will release Pink Floyd’s studio albums on the format, while Warner Music will launch a part-album from electro-punk band Hadouken.

For Universal, the UK is the test market for the USB format worldwide, and they hope to release USB albums before the end of the year from acts such as Kanye West and Amy Winehouse.