PassAlong Grabs Trans World Account, Spins MP3-Based Catalog

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Nashville-based PassAlong Networks has recently grabbed the digital music account for Trans World Entertainment, according to information revealed this morning.

PassAlong will now power the catalog for the f.y.e. (for your entertainment) digital download store, a destination that was initially managed by MusicNet.  The PassAlong catalog includes two million, MP3-based independent tracks, as well as DRM-protected, major label catalog.  EMI content will remain protected within the service, at least until an exclusive, DRM-free deal with Apple lapses.  After that point, other stores are expected to negotiate similar deals.  In discussions with Digital Music News on Thursday evening, PassAlong senior vice president of Sales & Business Development Skip Franklin pointed to a mix of both MP3s and protected WMAs, a blend that could move increasingly towards MP3s over time.  “We’re going to keep sliding from WMAs into MP3s,” Franklin anticipated.

The f.y.e. destination follows a path well-treaded by eMusic, which has been selling unprotected MP3s for years.  But Franklin noted that eMusic subscribers are required to commit to a monthly plan, part of a hybrid download and subscription approach.  In contrast, the f.y.e. store allows no-commitment downloads.  For Trans World, which is attempting to make inroads into a difficult digital market, the alliance means more flexibility and interoperability.  “Our goal is to provide our valued customers with interoperability and convenience,” said Jim Litwak, president and COO of Trans World Entertainment. “Offering PassAlong’s entire catalog, including two million MP3s in our f.y.e online store is another step in that direction.”