AOL’s 27 million subscribers will be offered legitimate access to record company catalogues from $3.95 (0) per month. Subscribers will be given access to the 250,000 strong recording catalogue of download service MusicNet, one of the music industry’s answers to the hugely popular but unauthorised sites like Aimster, KazaA and Morpheus. The New York Times has welcomed the move as the strongest attempt yet to beat unauthorised downloading of music. The music industry has blamed internet piracy for contributing to a slump in CD sales, with sales dropping 9% in the US in 2002. But legal sites from the industry have so far struggled to persuade fans to use legitimate (paid for) services – MusicNet has 500,000 subscribers, compared with 100 million users of the free song-swapping services. The basic AOL $3.95 deal will give users 20 streamed songs and 20 downloads per month. Fans can sign up for more access for up to $17.95 (40) per month, which buys unlimited streams and downloads, and the ability to burn – or copy – 10 songs to blank CDs per month. AOL Director of Music Evan Harrison said “A music subscription service is not going to make sense for everybody but we feel it will make sense for a lot of people”.