P2P operator Limewire, which has been trying for years to change its image as a popular destination for illegal file-sharing, is opening a DRM-free digital music store. At least at first, the store will be a stand-alone website, though it will also be accessible from links in Limewire’s file-sharing software. Later on, users will be able to browse and buy music directly from the main Limewire program. Consumers will be able to buy songs and albums “a la carte” or as part of monthly subscription plans. So far, Limewire, which was one of many file sharing sites that drew separate lawsuits brought by European record label organization IFPI and its American counterpart RIAA last year, has deals with Iris Distribution, which works with indie labels on digital distribution, and Canadian music label Nettwerk Productions.
No word as to whether Limewire plans any deals with Universal Music Group, which begins its DRM-free, non-iTunes MP3 sales experiment next week, or EMI, which is going to initially sell its unprotected digital music through widgets placed on MySpace. Release