updated 8/6/2005 4:15:16 AM ET 2005-08-06T08:15:16

Amazon.com is exploring a possible entry into the music and video download business, music industry executives said Friday.

The Seattle-based company, which pioneered the sale of books, CDs and other products over the Internet, has been in talks with major record labels about licensing and pricing issues for the service, said executives at three labels involved in the discussions.

Amazon’s discussions with the music labels were preliminary and more concrete steps, if taken, are likely still weeks away, said the executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity because nothing has been officially announced.

The service Amazon is considering would sell individual tracks as well as offer songs on a monthly subscription basis, one of the executives said.

Amazon also told at least one record company that it was considering using the New York-based music service MusicNet to power the subscription component of its service, according to one of the executives.

A spokesman for MusicNet declined to comment Friday.

Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith also declined to comment, saying it was company policy not to address “speculations or rumors about what we may or may not launch.”

Amazon has been dabbling in digital music for the past few years, offering an assortment of free downloads and streaming audio previews.

A move into direct online music sales would be natural for Amazon and would shake up the market, analyst say.

“A major brand entering the space is always going to be problematic for anyone who is already there,” said Rob Enderle of the Enderle Group. “People are likely to be there shopping and they could easily be pulled into a digital music experience.”

Amazon’s established consumer base would likely help it drum up sales quickly, said digital music analyst Phil Leigh.

“The selling of digital media is a perfect fit for Amazon,” he said. “The whole market is going to expand, and could be price competitive.”

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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