AOL is finally making moves when it comes to digital music services. With the notable exception of Germany the company has been dependent on third parties for final delivery, which is nothing new for AOL. However, the main US body of the company has now bought MusicNow and will be moving away from white label supplier MusicNet – of which it was an original partner many years ago. In the UK, AOL has a slightly bodged linking service with iTunes that doesn’t really do either companies or the customers any good (and makes virtually no money).

In Germany, AOL developed their own integrated billing system for music (integrated into their own relationship with the subscriber) that has been the most successful of all the attempts worldwide and so the purchase of MusicNow could signal a co-ordinated effort to mirror that certainly in the US, and you would imagine (though AOL is not good at this) worldwide.

MusicNow has a good range of content from all the major labels and quite a few indies as well, though the total catalogue size is now known.