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LimeWire Goes Legit, Opens Music Store

Previously lumped into the same category as Napster, Grokster, and Kazaa, the company is offering songs and albums "a la carte" or through monthly subscription plans.

LimeWire, a Web site that offers peer-to-peer file-sharing software plans to open a digital music store.

The company announced Tuesday that it will open a standalone Web site, with links from LimeWire's main site. The company will release additional features to allow users to shop for music and buy it directly from within the LimeWire program.

The site has signed deals with IRIS Distribution and Nettwerk Productions to provide music from their catalogs.

"We are delighted to collaborate with these forward-thinking music companies and sell their authorized content through LimeWire," Jesse Rubenfeld, LimeWire's CFO, said in a prepared statement.

The LimeWire Store will offer songs in the universally compatible MP3 audio format. Customers can purchase songs and albums "a la carte" or through monthly subscription plans. The company said it is also interested in receiving inquiries from creators who want to deliver content through the store.

LimeWire's main products, LimeWire Basic and LimeWire Pro, run on the decentralized Gnutella Network and are among the world's most popular peer-to-peer file-sharing applications. The New York City company was founded in 2000 by chairman Mark Gorton and quickly gained notoriety for file sharing. The company was lumped into the same categories as Napster, Grokster, and Kazaa.

IRIS promotes independent music and video catalogs. Its content is delivered to over 350 digital outlets, including Apple's iTunes Music Store, Napster 2.0, and Real/Rhapsody, as well as mobile channels including AT&T, Cingular, CosmoGirl, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The company was founded in 2003. It is based in San Francisco.

Terry McBride, Mark Jowett, and Ric Arboit founded Nettwerk Productions in 1984. It offers recording, production, management and publishing services through offices in Vancouver, Los Angeles, New York, and London.

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