Online-technology company CNET Networks has launched a free digital music service, allowing users to search and download what it says are thousands of songs contributed by independent and unsigned artists.

The service, based on CNET's Download.com Web site (http://music.download.com), has been collecting music for the past few weeks, encouraging musicians to register on the site and upload their songs. The music download service will be separate from the MP3.com Web site, which CNET has said it will relaunch soon as a music-information site.