RealNetworks, EMI, AOL, BMG in online music deal

MusicNet will combine the music assets of Bertelsmann, EMI Group and AOL Time Warner. The companies' music subsidiaries -- EMI Recorded Music, BMG Entertainment, and Warner Brothers Music Group -- will each license their music to MusicNet on a non-exclusive basis while RealNetworks will provide the online music delivery technology. AOL will also tie the new company into its existing portfolio of online brands, which include the music sites WinAmp and Spinner.

MusicNet will operate as an independent company, with each of the four companies involved owning a minority stake. The new company will also seek to license music from other record companies, both independents and the two remaining major labels -- Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group.

Rob Glaser, chairman and chief executive officer of RealNetworks, will be the interim chairman and CEO of MusicNet as well. The companies chose a CEO from outside the labels for MusicNet to avert a potential antitrust inquiry that could result from having a distribution venture that combines three of the five largest music labels, said P.J. McNealy, a senior analyst high-tech research firm Gartner Group.

"EMI and Sony couldn't talk in the same room as a Universal guy without an antitrust lawyer in the room," McNealy said.

Glaser dismissed antitrust concerns in a conference call Monday afternoon. "One of the core participants in this has been Joel Klein," he said, referring to the Clinton administration antitrust prosecutor who pursued the government's case against Microsoft. Klein now heads Bertelsmann's US operations.

"I think all of the participants have made it clear that there's nothing exclusive," in the agreements, permitting all parties involved to make additional distribution deals, Glaser said.

He also refuted the claim that the announcement was purposely timed one day before Senate hearings into online music, where music executives are expected to be grilled on their strategy for online music distribution.

"This is not just a fig leaf sort of thing," he said. "This is the real deal."

Few hard details came out of the conference call, however. No date was announced for the business-to-business service to begin. No model for subscriptions was announced. No model for distribution was announced, beyond Glaser noting that it will be business-to-business and not business-to-consumer, and that it will support both streaming audio and downloads.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?