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Wednesday, March 03, 2004, 09:00 am PT (12:00 pm ET)

Napster will launch UK music store by end of Summer

Universal Music, the world's largest record company, said on Wednesday its European unit has converted its entire active catalogue into digital form so that some 300,000 songs can be sold in online music stores, according to Reuters.

" The songs will for now be distributed solely through OD2, Europe's largest digital music distributor. Universal also has deals with online music retailers, including Apple's iTunes and Roxio's Napster, although those companies have yet to launch their services in Europe."

Meanwhile, a second article on the subject quotes Napster, who said today that it plans to launch a UK version of its online music store "by the end of the summer".

The company is expected to be pipped to the post by Apple, which is rumored to announce its own UK service in the second quarter of 2004.