Today is full of news about new digital-music stores, one of which is launching today, while the others are set to launch later this year. All three offerings will sell DRM-free MP3s from major-label artists, although that fact seems a bit less newsworthy today than it would have even six months ago.
• Rhapsody has launched a digital download store that sells MP3s from all four major labels. Its twist: You can sample entire songs before buying them, instead of those 30-second clips that don’t tip you off to, say, the epic coda in “November Rain.” [Silicon Alley Insider]
• This September, Project (RED) is launching a subscription digital-music service that will feature new and exclusive tracks from U2, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris, and Death Cab For Cutie, among others. For $5/month, half of which will go to (RED)’s charitable efforts, users will get three digital files a week: One song by a big-name artist, one track from an up-and-comer, and one “crackerjack surprise” which could be a video, a short story, or a song. [(RED) / NYT]
• Hot Topic will launch the digital-music store/online community ShockHound in August. So far, the service has agreements with three of the four major labels and a handful of indies. [NYT]http://blogs.gawker.com/mt.cgi?__mode=view&_type=entry&blog_id=33