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Full Audio Alters Launch Plans

Startup Full Audio will concentrate on launching its subscription music-download service and put a hold on plans to offer related hardware, which would have wirelessly connected a PC to a home stereo system via 900MHz to stream content from the PC’s hard drive.

That customized service (see TWICE, Jan. 22, page 32) works like this: Users pay a subscription price to download and store Windows Media Audio songs, which is protected by Microsoft’s digital rights management (DRM) technology, onto their hard drives. The PC will play back the downloaded music as long as the subscription is in effect. The intent is to guarantee sound quality by letting users play back music from their hard drives rather than from a Web site.

The music can also be transferred to any portable music device incorporating Microsoft’s DRM.

The company has secured publishing rights to the entire catalog of EMI and BMG music, but before it can upload the songs to subscribers, it must also obtain master recording licenses from the two companies. FullAudio said it has already obtained a master recording license for all tracks to which EMI has digital distribution rights. Currently, that includes about 30,000-40,000 tracks, a spokeswoman said.