OD2 Uses Windows Media Player 9 Series to Enable First Pan-European Pay-as-You-Go Digital Music Stores

LONDON, Aug. 14, 2003 — On Demand Distribution (OD2), a leading digital music company, and Microsoft Corp. today announced that OD2 has launched a new version of its music platform using Microsoft® Windows Media® Player 9 Series. The OD2 platform enables the MSN®
Music Club and Tiscali Music Club music stores to give consumers across Europe the ability to download individual tracks starting from 0.99 (0.75) from all five major labels and leading independents. OD2’s digital music catalogue offers more than 200,000 tracks by 8,500 artists, which are now available for download without subscription. The new range of services from MSN Music Club and the Tiscali Music Club also will be accessible to consumers in Europe through the Premium Services tab of Windows Media Player 9 Series.

The expanded MSN Music Club service will be launched today in the United Kingdom. Tiscali, which has Tiscali Music Clubs in operation in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium, will launch the new versions of its service in September. Both services are based on a simple pay-as-you-go model, enabling music fans to download individual songs starting from just 0.75 (0.99) per track, or 7.99 (12.49) per album. Those preferring to use a subscription-based service from MSN or Tiscali will be rewarded with even cheaper costs per track — from as low as 0.62 (0.97).

Charles Grimsdale, CEO of OD2, said,
“These new services represent the second generation of online music stores in Europe. Consumers can now access a vast library of legitimate digital music, and download and keep the music they buy without needing to commit to a monthly subscription. Both these services let users discover, download and manage their music collections through Windows Media Player 9 Series.”

“For the first time, millions of music fans across Europe will be able to buy individual tracks from all five major music labels through the OD2 music platform,”
said Jonathan Usher, director, Windows Digital Media Division, Microsoft Corp.
“With MSN Music Club and Tiscali Music Club offerings easily accessible through Windows Media Player 9 Series, consumers can seamlessly search, browse, download, organise and play tracks as well as take their music with them on more than 50 types of portable music devices, or burn copies onto CD.”

OD2’s catalogue includes many French, German, Italian and Spanish artists as well as strong representation from the United Kingdom and United States. Individual songs and whole albums will be available from superstar artists including Eminem, Christina Aguilera, Kylie, Ms. Dynamite and David Gray. All recordings are encoded using Windows Media 9 Series, protected by Windows Media Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.

Both the MSN Music Club and Tiscali Music Club services will allow music fans to take advantage of a growing range of new releases made available online the same day they are released to radio broadcasters, which is often a full six weeks before they are available on CD in conventional stores.

Making music downloads available directly through the media player allows service providers to easily reach the huge base of more than 50 million Windows Media Player 9 Series users. Music content delivered using Windows Media 9 Series takes up only half the storage space of MP3, meaning that consumers can fit even more music onto their PCs, portable devices or CDs. New users can download the Windows Media Player 9 Series from http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/download/default.asp .

About OD2

OD2 has the largest catalogue of legal digital music in Europe and is the only digital music provider in Europe that offers repertoire from each of the five major labels (Warner, BMG, Universal, Sony and EMI), as well as a host of independents. OD2’s customers include Belgacom, MSN, HMV, Dotmusic, Tiscali, MTV, Ministry of Sound, Fnac, Freeserve, Alapage, LOS40 and Wanadoo.

About Windows Media

Windows Media is the leading digital media platform, used by consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations throughout the world. The Windows Media 9 Series platform includes Windows Media Player 9 Series; Windows Media Services 9 Series, the powerful streaming server feature in Windows Server 2003 for distributing content; Windows Media Encoder 9 Series for content creation; Windows Media Audio and Video 9 Series for the best-quality audio and video; Windows Media Digital Rights Management to help protect content; and the Windows Media Software Development Kit for software developers to develop digital media products and services. Windows Media Player, available in 26 languages, is now the leading media player. More information about Windows Media can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsmedia/.

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, MSN and Windows Server 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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