7digital launches in USA and Canada

MP3 download service 7digital has announced an expansion over the pond into the USA and Canada. The UK-based music company has opened websites in North America for both countries that feature content from all four major labels, as well as a host of independents.


Pricing is a smidge cheaper than market rival iTunes at 77 cents for a track, and $7.77 for an album. All content is in MP3 format at 320kbps, which is better quality than Amazon's 256kbps MP3s and equivalent to Spotify's higher-bitrate Premium service.


UK users that are paying 79p for tracks might feel a little hard-done-by, but Ben Drury, the company's founder, told Pocket-lint that the difference is thanks to the lack of VAT in the States and music publishing working differently in favour of wholesalers.


The digital market in the US is more advanced than in the UK, with 20-30% of album purchases already being digital, compared to a 15-20% forecast by the Official Charts Company in the UK for 2010.


7digital's move follows the securing last year of £4.25 million in funding from Sutton Place managers, a venture capital fund. The company also recently signed a pan-European MP3 deal with Warner Music.


Drury told Pocket-lint that the company was pushing "agressive pricing" against iTunes and Amazon, adding "we think we can make a profit".