LOS ANGELES, Nov. 15, 1999 — At the Webnoize ’99 Conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft Corp. today announced the crossing of two major milestones in the effort to bring digital music into the mainstream. First, Microsoft announced the broadest commitment ever of major label and well-known artist content to an Internet digital media format. Second, Microsoft and Diamond Multimedia Inc. demonstrated the first end-to-end operation of a Secure Digital Music Initiative (SDMI)-capable portable music player delivering music in the secure Microsoft® Windows Media TM format. In addition, independent market research firm PC Data Online announced a first-ever look at Internet consumers’ behavior in using digital media, which showed that the Windows Media Player is the fastest-growing media player; it was used in the last month by 60 percent of consumers who accessed streaming media.
In a separate announcement today, Microsoft and Sony Corp. announced that Sony will support Windows Media on its upcoming VAIO Music Clip (MC-P10) device and the companies will collaborate on interoperability between Microsoft Windows Media and Sony’s OpenMG copyright protection technology.
“Improvements in quality and growing consumer demand have driven explosive growth in the availability of digital content,”
said Will Poole, general manager of the Streaming Media Division at Microsoft.
“The Windows Media platform offers the highest-quality technology for the digital music industry. Today’s announcements demonstrate how the industry is taking full advantage of the new opportunities offered by the Windows Media platform.”
Major and Independent Music Labels, Top Web Sites Choose Windows Media
A critical mass of content from major and independent labels and top Web sites will now be available in the Windows Media format. Combined, they will be delivering over 7,000 music videos, more than 100,000 singles, over 100 full-length albums and more than 500,000 music previews, demonstrating the largest commitment of downloadable and streaming music to a single format to date. These content providers include the following:
BMG Entertainment. BMG today announced the BMG Artist Showcase program. As part of this program, downloadable digital music, streaming audio and music videos from two leading BMG artists will be featured each month at WindowsMedia.com (http://windowsmedia.com/). The Artist Showcase program begins this month featuring content from The Artist and Foo Fighters.
EMI Records. EMI today announced its commitment to delivering more than 5,000 music videos featuring EMI artists in the Windows Media format. More than 200 EMI music videos are available immediately, and the remainder will be rolled out over the next year.
Entertainment Boulevard. Entertainment Boulevard Inc., one of the Internet’s top sources of streaming entertainment-related media, announced it has chosen to add support for Windows Media for its entire catalog of content, including more than 2,000 videos and 500 movie trailers beginning in December 1999.
musicmaker.com. musicmaker.com today announced it will make available by year’s end over 100,000 downloadable songs from top artists for secure download using the Windows Media Format and the Windows Media Rights Manager technology. Musicmaker.com will also offer up to 250,000 15-30 second streaming samples of each song for preview using Windows Media.
Tunes.com. Starting in January 2000,Tunes.com intends to stream 50 live and on-demand concerts in the Windows Media format from leading artists such as Backstreet Boys, Creed and Sting.
TVT Records. TVT, among the largest independent music labels, today announced it is offering its entire catalog of 100 full-length albums and 1,200 singles for sale in digital form online in Windows Media Format. TVT titles feature acclaimed artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Guided by Voices, Sevendust and XTC.
Virgin Megastores. The first major retailer to preview music using Windows Media, Virgin Megastores will provide digital samples of over 100,000 CDs and nearly 500,000 music clips (provided by Intervue) starting in February 2000.
These commitments, in addition to the more than 1,000 content providers already featured on Microsoft’s WindowsMedia.com Web site, demonstrate that the music and entertainment industries are adopting Windows Media as a key platform for delivering the highest-quality, free promotional and entertainment content as well as for implementing large-scale e-commerce sites.
Windows Media Garners Support From Leading Portable Device Manufacturers
At Webnoize ’99 today, Microsoft and Diamond Multimedia demonstrated the first-ever SDMI-capable device supporting Windows Media, from Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. The third-generation Diamond Rio players will support both Windows Media and Windows Media Digital Rights Management, marking an important landmark in enabling content providers to extend their business models through secure distribution of digital content and driving adoption of secure-capable digital media devices and software by consumers.
This demonstration also marked the first delivery of support for the Windows Media Device Manager, announced last week, which provides a standard platform for transferring digital media using the Windows® operating system. The Windows Media Device Manager is designed to help reduce the time-to-market and development costs for hardware manufacturers and software developers creating SDMI-capable devices and applications. Diamond Multimedia is among over 20 major companies, including portable device makers Creative Labs Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Thomson Consumer Electronics and more, supporting the Windows Media Device Manager.
Windows Media Sees Dramatic Increase in Consumer Usage
Independent research firm PC Data Online today released results of the first comprehensive metered report of consumer usage of digital media players. The report revealed that 41 percent of households with Internet access use a media player, and those who do use an average of two different players to access digital content. PC Data’s results also showed that of those users playing streaming media, sixty percent (an average of six out of 10) used the Windows Media Player within the last month. In addition, according to PC Data, Windows Media Player has the fastest growth rate, dramatically outpacing other players, with a 34 percent usage increase month over month.
WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ), part of the MSN TM 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.
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