Becomes Most Popular Multimedia Guide on the Web

REDMOND, Wash., July 11, 2000 — As the Internet becomes a chief source for popular audio and video, Web sites dedicated to guiding consumers to their favorite music and videos have become some of the fastest-growing destinations on the Internet. According to Media Metrix Inc., the leader in Internet audience measurement, leads this emerging category of Web sites. With 5.7 million individual visitors in May 2000, ( ) is the most-visited site for audio and video on the Internet, attaining a reach of 7.3 in May. By comparison, competing Web sites such as, and attained reaches of 3.4, 4.6 and 3.8, respectively., the Microsoft® guide to audio and video on the Internet, increased its number of unique visitors by 3.1 million between January and May 2000, a rate faster than any other multimedia guide on the Web, according to audience measurement service Nielsen//NetRatings. is now among the top 50 most-visited Web sites.

“Digital media has achieved mass appeal, and is where consumers can find the audio and video they want with the sound and video quality that only Windows Media™ Format can provide,”
said Dave Fester, general manager of marketing for the Digital Media Division at Microsoft Corp.
“More people are going to because it guides consumers to the best content and the best overall experience.”

In addition to the growing popularity of digital media in general, the skyrocketing demand for Windows Media-formatted content at corresponds to a recent site redesign that added new features and easier access to music and video, a widely popular beta version of Windows Media Player 7 and strong support for the Windows Media Format by major content providers. The site redesign highlighted popular content, dramatically expanded the music available for download, and integrated artist and album information for nearly 500,000 albums from All Music Guide.

The Windows Media Player 7 beta version integrated the wealth of content from and added new functionality to the Windows Media Player, which was already the fastest-growing digital media player. Data from Nielsen//NetRatings show that in May 2000, Windows Media Player grew faster than any other digital media player in terms of consumer use since the beginning of the year. Between January and May 2000, usage of content files specific to Windows Media Player grew by 33.9 percent, compared with 24.8 percent for the RealPlayer from RealNetworks Inc.

Major content providers continue to choose Windows Media Format for its popularity, its superior audio and video quality, and its built-in support for digital rights management. All the major labels and many of the largest independent labels are making Windows Media a key part of their digital music initiatives, including Sony Music Entertainment’s use of Windows Media for digital downloads, BMG Entertainment’s choice of Windows Media for its digital download initiative and EMI Group’s recent announcement that it will release more than 100 albums and more than 40 associated singles as secure digital downloads in Windows Media Format. Windows Media also is the preferred technology platform for TVT Records, the largest independent label in the United States and edel music, Europe’s largest independent music company.

About ( ), part of the MSN™ network of Internet services, is the fastest-growing major audio and video guide on the Internet. provides access to localized audio and video content to users worldwide, including major music and video events and entertainment from more than 1,000 content providers. features more than 60,000 downloadable songs, over 2,000 music videos, more than 2,000 Internet radio stations, daily live audio and video webcasts, and a powerful search engine for finding radio, video and broadband content.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, providing unmatched audio and video quality to consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations. Windows Media offers the industry’s only integrated rights-management solution and the most scalable and reliable streaming technology tested by independent labs. Windows Media Technologies includes Windows Media Player for consumers, Windows Media Services for servers, Windows Media Tools for content creation and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK) for software developers. Windows Media Player, available in 24 languages, is the fastest-growing media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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.

Microsoft, Windows Media and MSN 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.

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