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Full Audio Inks Universal Deal

Full Audio has signed a two-year nonexclusive deal with Universal Music to add select songs from the Universal catalog to its planned cache-download music-subscription service, which will initially be delivered to PCs but might be expanded to home CE devices.

Full previously signed a deal with EMI for its full catalog of titles.

In its first distribution-partner agreement, FullAudio will deliver its service beginning in January through websites operated by Clear Channel-owned radio stations in five markets: Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and Salt Lake City. Monthly fees will range from $5 to $15/month, depending on the service level.

Clear Channel will use the service to let listeners of its stations download music in the format played by the stations. The service will also give listeners access to other music formats.

To eliminate music-quality problems caused by poor Internet connections, the service doesn’t stream music to a PC. Instead, it lets users download music for storage on, and playback from, their PC’s hard drive. Listeners have full access to the music as long as their subscription is paid up.

For now, music can’t be transferred to an Internet audio portable, but down the road, Full hopes to allow for transfer to portables that use Microsoft’s WMA codec and DRM, a spokeswoman said. “The portable device would have to understand all the rules supported by the DRM,” she said.