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Napster Signs Deal With Independent Labels

INTERNATIONAL: A licensing agreement with Napster was signed by Britain and Europe on Tuesday, which will immediately make thousands of tracks available to computer-users worldwide.

According to the Daily News Brief, The Independent Music Companies Association and Britain's Association of Independent Music signed the deal with the Redwood City, California-based Napster on behalf of Europe's independent record labels.

Napster has been moving toward legitimacy after a court ruling that it removes protected works from its song-swapping service.

This deal is the latest attempt by Napster to secure its future as an online distributor of music, following an earlier court ruling that ordered it to effectively shut down its service.

The agreement gives independent labels a chance to broaden their distribution and compete with major labels and retailers, who have invested heavily in the Internet.

This most recent deal is Napster's first direct multi-label agreement, which will help lift the company's file of songs when it's online music subscription service commences this summer.

The deal includes tracks from artists including Moby, Tom Jones, Badly Drawn Boy, Mogwai, The Avalanches, Moloko, Slipknot, Tricky, Miossec, Saint Germain and Belle & Sebastian.

In addition to more than 150 British independent record companies, labels belonging to the national trade associations from Germany, France and Sweden are also a part of the deal.

"This is nothing short of a global revolution for musicians and music lovers," said Alison Wenham, chief executive director of the Association of Independent Music, a non-profit making organization representing independent record companies throughout Britain.