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BMG To Release Music for Digital Distribution

BMG Entertainment announced that it will be releasing music for digital download. The digital download program will begin next month, although the retail affiliate partners participating in this release have yet to be announced.

Digital Island ( http://www.digitalisland.com) has entered into an agreement with BMG to provide Digital Island's hosting, networking and content delivery services for the digital distribution of music to retailers and consumers.

Under the BMG umbrella are major record labels, such as Arista Records, RCA Music Group and Ariola. The initial release will consist of 60 single tracks, and 40 albums from all genres. According to Sami Valkonen, Vice President, Business Development, BMG Distribution and Associated Labels, new content will be released every two weeks once BMG is confident that the consumer experience is satisfactory.

BMG believes that over time consumers will begin to realize that digital music is a convenient alternative and intends to package their releases with value-added features such as lyrics and pictures of the artist. Initial pricing will be between $1.98- $3.49 a single track, and $9.98 - $16.98 for a full album.

"The value is in the music, not in the CD," stated Valkonen. However, Valkonen did add that the pricing was subject to market testing. Universal Music, which released a new secure format called "bluematter" earlier this month, has also set the price of a single song at $1.99. The consumer response will soon determine if this pricing scheme is effective.

In addition, BMG Distribution is in discussions with the popular BMG Music Club. The company is looking for the best way to utilize the strength of the club in the new digital market.

Digital Island will be working to enhance the customer experience. Once a customer buys a track or an entire album, Digital Island's Footprint content delivery service will reduce the time it takes to download the files by caching music on servers located close to users at the edge of the network and directing requests to the fastest-working server.

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