Virgin to launch JamCast online music service

Virgin Entertainment Group has announced it will team up with JamCast.com to launch a new digital-audio download service called Virgin JamCast.

Virgin JamCast is owned by JamCast.com, a company created by digital-media services provider Wavo. Virgin will take a 25 per cent stake in the company in return for $US15 million of in-store promotion, according to press releases issued by the two companies.

The companies expect Virgin JamCast to generate revenue through the sale of music and entertainment software initially, but Virgin is prepared to capitalise on the trends of Internet-based music subscriptions and pay-per-play game models, as well as running advertisements, according to the company statement.

The new download service uses Wavo's Asynchronous Reliable Multicast technology to deliver streaming audio files, and eventually will offer the service over television signals for users of computers with TV cards installed. The download technology used in multicasting is similar to the way a radio works, according to JamCast. The streaming audio is already being continuously sent from the host, so requesting access to it doesn't cause delays.

Wavo also has a strategic alliance to develop technology for multimedia transmission over television set-top boxes from manufacturer General Instrument, which it hopes will eventually enable it to reach a larger scale of consumer devices.

Pre-registration, which is free, is available now, and the site should be fully functional sometime this quarter, according to Virgin. Virgin JamCast can be reached online at http://www.jamcast.com.

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Douglas F. Gray

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