Virgin Media, Universal launch 'unlimited' music service

The broadband provider will also suspend accounts of music pirates

A new music download service to be launched by Virgin Media and Universal Music will let U.K. customers stream and download as many music tracks as they want for a single monthly subscription, the companies announced Monday.

The downloaded music will not expire and will be available on any MP3 compatible device owned by customers, said Virgin Media, a provider of broadband, television, phone and mobile services in the U.K.

The service will also have an entry level subscription for customers who don't want an unlimited service, the company said in a press release.

The two companies will also work on education campaigns about online piracy and legal alternatives, but Virgin Media will also suspend Internet access as a last resort for persistent offenders, it said.

No customers will be permanently disconnected, it said.

Virgin Media will not "depend on network monitoring or interception of customer traffic" to identify copyright abusers, the company said.

Virgin Media is negotiating with other major and independent music labels and publishers in the U.K. in an effort to offer a large music catalog by the time the service launches later this year.

Virgin Media and Universal Music will also work together to protect Universal Music's intellectual property and reduce unauthorized distribution of its music across Virgin Media's broadband network, Virgin Media said.

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