World number two digital music service eMusic has made official its plans to rollout across the European Union with a catalogue of more than 1.7 million tracks. A tentative first step was announced last month and CEO David Pakman has been bullish in his launch statements, saying that iTunes/iPod is on the wane and not the long-term choice of the public.

The launch will mirror the US operation with a monthly subscription fees allowing a certain amount of downloads (in MP3 format of course). Basic, Plus and Premium offer varying quantities of tracks from the 8,500 labels that have signed up with the service. Despite the lack of majors, major name recordings can still be found but eMusic big selling point is its universality of playback options. Prices in Europe will be higher than their dollar equivalents in the US service but then there are mitigating factors in the pan-European proposition.Monthly subscriptions run at £8.99, £11.99 or £14.99 for which you can download 40, 65 or 90 songs respectively.

“The monopoly of iTunes in Europe is over,” said Pakman. “European consumers, fed up with homogeneous music and services focused only on mainstream pop can now discover a wealth of music created to transcend rules, boundaries and commercialism.”

Good luck to ’em I say, it’s an excellent service offering choice and a real alternative to the Apple model, which is very healthy.

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