Microsoft and BMG Move Digital Music Into Mainstream

REDMOND, Wash., and NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. and BMG Entertainment today announced the launch of the BMG Artist Showcase program to promote BMG performers’ use of Microsoft® Windows Media TM formats and the WindowsMedia.com media guide, part of the MSN TM network of Internet services. Downloadable digital music, streaming audio and music videos from two top BMG artists from around the world will be featured each month on the BMG Artist Showcase at WindowsMedia.com, exclusively in Windows Media formats.

The BMG Artist Showcase kicks off with The Artist (formerly Prince), who is currently making available a song for download as well as a streamed video and previews of songs from his new album,
“Rave Un2 the Joy Fantastic.”
On Nov. 22, Foo Fighters will be featured in the showcase with music from their new album,
“There Is Nothing Left to Lose.”

Today’s announcement builds on the recent collaboration between BMG and Microsoft to distribute music from 14 BMG artists on the Microsoft Windows® 98 Play Pack CD-ROM. The Play Pack CD-ROM is being distributed through nationwide retail locations this holiday season with Windows 98 Second Edition, the update to the popular Windows 98 operating system. This is the first time that popular music has been distributed with a Microsoft operating system.

“Together, the initiatives demonstrate an ongoing commitment by both BMG and Microsoft to bringing digital music to mainstream audiences around the world,”
said Will Poole, general manager of the Streaming Media Division at Microsoft.
“BMG is a leader in the music industry in embracing new technologies to bring its artists and fans closer together. For the BMG Artist Showcase, BMG provides great artists and great content, and our superior Windows Media formats guarantee that fans will have the best-possible listening experience.”

“The BMG Artist Showcase program and the Play Pack CD-ROM promotion represent a significant expansion in efforts by BMG’s worldwide marketing group to reach more music fans in a way that adds value to their music experience,”
said Kevin Conroy, senior vice president, Worldwide Marketing, BMG.
“Our collaboration with Microsoft on efforts like the Artist Showcase and the Play Pack CD-ROM promotion brings important exposure to our artists and ensures that music fans benefit from the excellent audio and video quality of Microsoft Windows Media.”

Technologies critical to the widespread adoption of digital music include high-fidelity compression, which makes it possible to stream music and videos across the Internet in real time, and content protection and rights management, which help artists and labels limit pass-around piracy. Windows Media offers both flexible digital rights management and state-of-the-art sound compression, providing CD-quality sound at half the file size of MP3, reducing disk space needs and doubling the speed of downloads.

Through the efforts of BMG’s worldwide marketing team, BMG-distributed artists account for 14 of the 18 songs offered on Microsoft’s Play Pack CD-ROM, which will be distributed to more than 8,000 retail outlets in North America. BMG artists on the CD-ROM include Brooks and Dunn, Puff Daddy, Dido, Eurythmics, Foo Fighters, Lit, Martina McBride, Sarah McLachlan, Beth Orton, Pink, The Verve Pipe and Barry White. The BMG Artist Showcase program will bring fresh content from two popular artists to consumers every month during the first half of 2000.

About BMG Entertainment

BMG Entertainment is the $4.6 billion worldwide music and entertainment division of Bertelsmann AG, one of the world’s leading media companies, with annual revenues of $16.4 billion. BMG owns more than 200 record labels in 53 countries, including Arista Records, RCA Records and Ariola Music. BMG also owns the world’s largest music club, one of the world’s largest music publishing companies, and has interests in television and compact disc and cassette manufacturing.

About WindowsMedia.com

WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ), part of the MSN network of Internet services, is among the fastest-growing major audio and video guides on the Internet. WindowsMedia.com provides access to localized audio and video content worldwide, including major music and video events and entertainment from more than 1,000 radio stations and more than 1,000 content providers.

About Windows Media Technologies

Windows Media Technologies is the leading digital media platform that provides consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies 4, which includes Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and the Windows Media SDK, is available for free* download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ . More than 50 million copies of the free* Windows Media Player have been downloaded to date — growing by more than one every second.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

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Microsoft, Windows Media, MSN and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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