MSN Music Makes Discovering New Music From Emerging Artists Simple And Affordable Through Relationship With

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 16, 2004 — Starting today, music fans in the United States will be able to go to one place to buy music from mainstream artists as well as discover new artists through free legal downloads from independent musicians. MSN®
Music, located at , has teamed up with, the largest community of independent musicians on the Web, to offer free music downloads, radio and other content from emerging artists.

The alliance with will help music fans easily discover their next favorite band without spending hours scouring multiple Web sites or local CD stores. Available at , the site hosted by MSN Music will feature music and content from’s top-rated independent artists spanning several genres. Today the page on MSN Music will highlight five up-and-coming musicians, including rising star Geoff Byrd, who has recently dominated’s listener ratings as a top-rated artist.

“There’s so much great music produced by independent artists these days, including the music that may be in tomorrow’s top 10,” said Rob Bennett, senior director of MSN Entertainment. “’s listener-rating system is an excellent filter for undiscovered talent, and teaming up with is a great way for us to help music fans discover new tracks and emerging artists that they wouldn’t find on other music services.” Alliance Offers Fans Multiple Options for Discovering New Music

The alliance between MSN Music and will offer a broad range of music discovery tools over the coming months, including these:

  • hub page. MSN Music has created a page dedicated to, featuring information from the site as well as individual artist pages that specifically highlight a variety of the musicians that receive the best ratings from’s listener community.

  • Former archive. MSN Music plans to initially offer 150,000 tracks that is restoring from the former archive.* The archive represents a broad range of music and, once available through a link on MSN, will be one of the largest sources of free legal music in the world.

  • Music charts. Lists of’s top-ranked songs, generated by the site’s unique listener-based review process and representing a variety of musical genres from hip-hop to jazz, will appear on MSN Music.

  • Free downloads. In the coming months, additional tracks from more than 100,000 independent musicians from’s extensive library will be made available through a link on MSN Music.

  • Radio. In the coming months, an MSN Music station will be programmed to stream the top-ranked music from’s thousands of up-and-coming independent artists.

“MSN Music provides’s artists with the one thing they need most to further their careers: exposure to a mass audience,” said Ali Partovi, CEO of “MSN’s dedication to promoting independent music will allow both artists and music fans to realize the Internet’s true potential for transforming the music business.”

Singer-Songwriter Geoff Byrd Gets Star Treatment on MSN Music

The first artist highlighted on MSN Music’s site is Geoff Byrd. The Portland, Ore.-based singer-songwriter is one of the best-rated artists of all time on, boasting four songs in the site’s listener-selected Top 10. Geoff Byrd’s music also has been added to the MSN top 40 and alternative pop radio stations and will be included in promotions featured across the MSN network.

“It’s amazing to see my music go from being rated by listeners on one day to reaching a national audience on MSN Music the next,” said Byrd. “The Internet is where tomorrow’s stars are going to be discovered, and MSN Music and are turning the dream into a reality for artists like me.”

In addition to Geoff Byrd, new independent artists spotlighted on MSN Music include Rowdee Black Giants, Anne Heaton, Trip2Go and Sci-Fi Lullaby, whose music ranges from high-energy live hip-hop to folk-infused pop. To help music fans discover this new talent, MSN Music will feature one free track from each artist. Their albums will be available for purchase from their custom artist pages.

About ( ) is the world’s largest musician community and home to the definitive charts of independent music. Since 1999, fourteen of its highest-ranking bands have been signed by major labels, including double-platinum recording artists Drowning Pool, and many more have scored licensing or publishing deals. In April 2004, acquired exclusive rights to resurrect the former community of 250,000 artists and 1.7 million songs. uses collaborative filtering to let ordinary people identify the best songs. Recognized by Time Magazine as one of 2003’s “50 Best Websites,”’s mission is to empower musicians and redefine how music is discovered and promoted. is run by CEO Ali Partovi, whose previous startup, LinkExchange, was acquired by Microsoft in 1998.

About MSN

MSN attracts more than 360 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 40 markets and 20 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at . MSN worldwide sites are located at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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