Australia hopes to profit from the Kiwi music industry with the launch of MP3.co.nz.
The domain name has been bought by Melbourne-based ehyou.com, which has said it will begin offering music on the Web site this week.
Ehyou.com claims it will be New Zealand's first Music Service Provider (MSP), offering services to musicians, songwriters, artists and others in the music industry. It has also bought MP3.co.uk and plans expansion into Britain.
The company already operates MP3.com.au, which also claims to be the first and the most visited digital music Web site across the Tasman.
MP3.com.au provides streaming radio sessions, free downloads of music by established artists, and hosts chatrooms and interviews with musicians. It was launched last September.
A company spokesman says music will be put on the site this week and then content will gradually increase. A full launch, however, won't be held for a month.
The spokesman says that initially MP3.co.nz will be a "fly-in" operation from Australia. However, partnerships will be formed with New Zealand organisations and ehyou.com is seeking New Zealand suppliers.
"We intend to have a New Zealand base, but at this stage it's early days. But we want a New Zealand presence to make it a truly New Zealand operation," he says.
Ehyou.com is an Australian-listed Stock Exchange company whose divisions include OzHosting.com and Sprint.com.au, which provide e-commerce, Web site construction and marketing. It also owns one third of Creditcheck.com.au, an e-commerce site providing online real time credit checking facilities.
MP3 is a music compression format for the delivery of sound over the Internet. MP3 compresses music files to around 10% of their original size while retaining quality sound.