Confirming earlier reports, UK loyalty card company Nectar launched its DRM-free digital music store in the UK this morning.
The store is situated here and has an interesting twist – it allows users to redeem their Nectar points for music selected from the service’s one million tracks. Tracks have been provided by independent and major labels, and are made available as DRM-free MP3s.
New competition in digital music seems set to introduce itself to the UK, with news that Nectar will soon offer the Nectar Music Store, where card holders will be able to swap their loyalty points for music downloads. A 30-track package, for example, will cost 2900 points.
The store was developed by Hip Digital Media in conjunction with Aeroplan and follows a significant move last month in which Montreal-based firm, Aeroplan, revised its own Aeroplan Music Store with the introduction of MP3 DRM-free downloads from multiple major labels – that was highly significant as it represented the first time any commercial music download site was able to offer DRM-free MP3 tracks from all four major labels in Canada. So, the tracks would play on an iPod, or anything else.
Launched in September 2007, the Aeroplan Music Store was also created in partnership with Hip Digital Media. Given current reports claiming Sony BMG and Universal to be on the edge of offering DRM-free MP3 music distribution licenses to online music companies in the UK, spawning new business for no.2 player 7digital and potentially suggesting Amazon MP3 store for UK launch in September, it’s more than possible the Nectar Music Store will also be able to offer music DRM-free, though we haven’t yet been able to confirm this speculation.
A quick corporate history: Nectar is owned by Loyalty Management Group (LMG), which has since December been owned by Aeroplan.