NEW YORK and REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 1, 2000 — Warner Music Group (WMG) and Microsoft Corp. today announced that WMG has chosen Microsoft® Windows Media™
to deliver high-quality, secure music downloads over the Internet. In a multiyear agreement, WMG has selected Windows Media Format as a primary format for commercial music download initiatives in the United States and Canada, with security provided by Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM).
The first WMG tracks for sale in Windows Media Format will be available beginning today at leading online retailers. Music fans in the United States and Canada will be able to download current singles and exclusive Internet-only tracks by major WMG artists including Yolanda Adams, Barenaked Ladies, k.d. lang, matchbox twenty, Orgy, Pantera, Phish, Keith Sweat and others.
“The choice of technologies for this initiative was critical, and using Windows Media helps us provide the best possible experience to the broadest possible audience,”
said Paul Vidich, executive vice president of Strategic Planning and Business Development for Warner Music Group.
“Windows Media audio and digital rights management technologies have been widely adopted by popular software players and portable devices. Supporting Windows Media means virtually every digital media enthusiast can enjoy downloading music from WMG artists.”
Windows Media Format offers CD-quality sound in half the file size of MP3, effectively doubling the music storage capacity of computers and personal audio devices. Windows Media DRM, now in its second generation, is the most widely deployed technology for protecting digital music against piracy.
Because of the nearly universal industry support for Windows Media, consumers have flexibility in how they choose to listen to their music. Nearly all current portable audio devices support Windows Media, as do most major digital media players and jukeboxes, including Windows Media Player 7, Windows Media Player 7 for the Mac and a variety of third-party players.
“Warner’s commitment to digital commerce and Windows Media is a breakthrough for the millions of people who enjoy the flexibility and convenience that digital music provides,”
said Will Poole, vice president of the Digital Media Division at Microsoft.
“By making such a broad range of great titles available, Warner is delivering what consumers want – fast and easy access to music from their favorite artists.”
U.S. and Canadian music fans will be able to preview and buy WMG music today at a wide variety of online retail sites. At launch, downloads will be available at CDNOW.com, CDPlus.com and Musicland Stores Corp.’s mediaplay.com, samgoody.com, suncoast.com and oncue.com. Beginning tomorrow, the downloads will be available at Tower Records’ towerrecords.com. The downloads also will be promoted at WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ). WMG is working with Liquid Audio to provide digital distribution services to these retailers. Additional retail partners as well as new music download offerings will be announced shortly after launch.
In future offerings, WMG will further transform the digital music experience by taking advantage of Windows Media capabilities to combine artist and album information, such as artwork and lyrics, with the tracks in a single download.
Today’s announcement builds on more than a year and a half of cooperation between the two companies to provide a great digital media experience for consumers, including such successful efforts as PreviewTunes.com ( http://www.previewtunes.com/ ), a Warner site that offers streamed videos of new and soon-to-be-released songs.
About Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group is home to some of the world’s leading record companies, including The Atlantic Group, Elektra Entertainment Group, Rhino Entertainment, London-Sire Records and Warner Bros. Records Inc. The company’s Warner Music International, with a roster of more than 1,000 artists, operates in more than 65 countries through various subsidiaries, affiliates and nonaffiliated licensees. Warner Music Group also includes one of the world’s leading music publishers, Warner/Chappell Music Inc. and WEA Inc., which is composed of three companies, WEA Corp., WEA Manufacturing and Ivy Hill. Warner Music Group is a division of Time Warner Inc.
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 http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/ .
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.
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