Online retailer Play.com has "thrown down the gauntlet" to the competition by becoming the first "major" UK retailer to offer digital tracks and albums without Digital Rights Management.
Play.com has teamed up with record label EMI, along with other independent labels and distributors, including Vital and Pinnacle to provide content to PlayDigital, a fully integrated music download store.
PlayDigital will sell tracks and albums in DRM-Free MP3 format which means the downloads will play on virtually any MP3 player, including iPods, as well as Macs and PCs.
Pricing, described as "competitive", will see the top 100 tracks available from 65p per track (compared to 79p on iTunes) and albums will be from £4.95, with those in the top 100 available £1 cheaper than Apple's download service.
Millions of tracks will be made available from launch and Play.com anticipates further growth over the next 6 months with other "major" deals being brokered with labels to offer more DRM-free music.