Virgin Media Close to Deal for Digital Music Service

A trial could launch as early as this summer

In early 2009, Virgin Media announced that it was planning an unlimited music download subscription service in partnership with Universal Music, but none of the other major labels signed on. Yet according to the Guardian, Virgin Media is now close to signing a new deal with Spotify, and four record companies — which means that the digital music service might finally come to fruition.

The negotiations have taken so long to complete because Virgin Media also had to separately agree to terms with Sony Music, Universal Music, EMI, and Warner Music as they have the power to veto any deal Spotify does. But sources are now saying that a deal has been agreed to in principle and is “all but signed.”

If the deal goes through, Virgin Media plans to launch a limited trial of the service over the summer with full consumer availability coming this winter. Sources say that Virgin Media may offer the new music service as a “bundle” with other Virgin products like TV, broadband, and telephone.

Assuming that no one beats it to the punch, Virgin Media will be the first of the “big five” Internet service providers to launch a digital music service, says the Guardian.