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Corbis may be best known for licensing digital images. But the Seattle company, started by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates in 1989, is expanding its footprint in the digital music arena today with the launch of GreenLight Music.

Some heavyweights from the industry have already lined up behind the effort, namely major labels such as EMI, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal and Warner. More than one million tracks are now available through the service.

GreenLight operates an online marketplace where companies can secure rights to music for use in corporate videos, tradeshows, sales meetings and Web sites. Users can search by various themes or categories — from “cocky” to “breakups” to “driving” to “romance.” They choose how many days they plan to use the song and for what purpose. Then, they can submit a bid of how much they’d pay for the song.

“GreenLight Music is a breakthrough, online solution that takes music licensing from a complex process, to a simple, online experience requiring only a few clicks,” said Gary Shenk, chief executive officer of Corbis in a statement. “Now, customers who would have shied away from using popular music … can come to GreenLight Music to discover, search, select and purchase the iconic songs they want, quickly and easily online.”

The traditional music industry certainly has taken it on the chin in recent years. And GreenLight Music could provide a new ancillary revenue stream for the labels, allowing them to capitalize on the use of songs in film, games, apps and advertising.

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