Microsoft and Alliance Entertainment to Bring All Music Guide Information To Millions of Windows Media Player Users

REDMOND, Wash., and CORAL SPRINGS, Fla., March 27, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. and Alliance Entertainment Corp. today announced that Microsoft has licensed Alliance’s comprehensive All Music Guide (AMG) database and will deliver extensive artist and album information from Alliance as an integrated feature of the next-generation Microsoft® Windows Media TM Player 7. Incorporating All Music Guide’s rich information enhances the digital music experience for music fans and also makes possible seamless e-commerce opportunities for retailers.

The All Music Guide information is available immediately in the Windows Media Player 7 Technology Preview, announced separately today by Microsoft. The Technology Preview release is designed to give software developers and advanced PC users an early look at the next version of the Windows Media Player and is scheduled to be available for users of the Windows® 98, Windows 2000 and the forthcoming Windows Millennium Edition operating systems.

Windows Media Player 7, the first digital media player designed for everyday consumers, builds on industry-leading Windows Media technologies to deliver the best audio and video experience. The player makes it easy to enjoy digital media by bringing it all together in one place, offering one-click access to common activities and allowing personalized skins and visualizations.

“We are very excited to bring the robust content of All Music Guide to the new Windows Media Player,”
said Eric Weisman, president and chief executive officer of Alliance Entertainment.
“The combination of the Windows Media Player’s advanced functionality and AMG’s outstanding music resource creates an exceptional music experience for the user.”

The integration within Windows Media Player 7 of the All Music Guide information illustrates how the player enhances the digital media experience. When an audio CD is inserted into the disk drive for playing or recording, Windows Media Player 7 automatically retrieves album and artist information from the All Music Guide database via the Internet that goes far beyond simple album title and track listings. The comprehensive information includes album art, genres and styles, artist biographies, album reviews, complete discographies with individually rated albums, and similar artists and influences.

“The integration with All Music Guide is a great example of how the Windows Media Player 7 improves the digital media experience for mainstream consumers by making it easy to learn more about your favorite artists and to discover new music,”
said Dave Fester, director of marketing for the Digital Music Division at Microsoft.
“The relationship with Alliance is also important because Alliance’s fulfillment capabilities open up new commerce opportunities for retailers and music lovers who want to expand their libraries.”
Windows Media Player 7 is the first player to offer seamless access to All Music Guide.

All Music Guide is part of All Media Guide, the world’s largest and most comprehensive entertainment information databases for music, movies and video games. The databases are a massive archive, combining information on ratings, images, titles and credits, with original written content that includes reviews and biographies. All Media Guide content is provided by an established international network of more than 600 staff and freelance writers covering current and historical titles.

About Alliance Entertainment

Alliance Entertainment ( http://www.aent.com/ ) is a leading total solution provider of business-to-business infrastructure services that are essential to transact commerce in the home entertainment product marketplace. Through its Distribution and Fulfillment Services Group, Alliance offers an extensive product inventory (including CDs, cassettes, DVDs, videos, video games and related merchandise) as well as e-commerce fulfillment capabilities and innovative technology and support services for today’s marketplace. Through its Media and Internet Services Group, Alliance is a leading distributor of digital entertainment through Digital On-Demand and a leading content provider through the All Media Guide databases. AMG’s customers license its e-commerce-enabling entertainment databases to support their Internet retailing and content businesses. AMG is also a developer of proprietary Web Sites for music ( http://www.allmusic.com/ ), movies ( http://www.allmovie.com/ ) and games ( http://www.allgame.com/ ).

About Windows Media and Microsoft

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing 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/ . The Windows Media Player, available in 24 languages, is the fastest growing media player. More than 60 million copies have been downloaded to date – growing by more than one every second.

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.

*Connect-time charges may apply.

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

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Sue D’Agostino, Alliance Entertainment Corp. (973) 657-1558, suedag@aent.com

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft home page at http://microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Related Posts