BT's broadband internet service provider, BTopenworld, today announced it will be trialling a music subscription service to its customers.

The service will be banking on the increasing popularity of CD-burning among music fans and the continued pull of digital audio formats such as MP3, no doubt hoping to cash-in on the fallout from free song-swapping Mecca, Napster, whose operations were stymied earlier this year by a court order requiring it to block downloads of copyrighted songs.

The secure — and legal — distribution of audio files will be handled on behalf of BT by singer/songwriter Peter Gabriel's company OD2 (On Demand Distribution), which is behind the launch of a successful music subscription service in Europe.

BTopenworld's music downloads, says OD2 CEO Charles Grimsdale, "offer a safe, simple and effective alternative to traditional media."

Music downloads join a variety of add-on broadband services available to BTopenworld subscribers besides internet access, such as SpeechMail, SMS messaging to their mobiles and a WAP portal. Subscription rates for the music service, as well as details of contents, will be announced later this year with the full launch.