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Sonic Foundry & MusicMatch Unveil New Jukebox Software

The race for jukebox players heated up this week as both Sonic Foundry (www.sonicfoundry.com) and MusicMatch ( www.musicmatch.com) unveiled new versions of their players.

Sonic Foundry released version 2.0 of its Siren software, which now supports video, has a net radio tuner, a built-in browser and other features.

Perhaps the most compelling feature is Siren's cross-platform support. Siren can play Real and Windows Media streaming audio and video, as well as MP3, WAV, QuickTime, MPEG, AVI, AIFF, and Ogg Vorbis.

Siren is the only major jukebox player to support the new Vorbis open source audio codec, being developed as an alternative to MP3.

Like its competitors (Windows Media Player 7, MusicMatch and RealJukebox), Siren allows for CD recording and ripping. It also has a music manager for downloading, organizing and customizing songs into playlists or portable music devices. Siren supports player skins and visualizations.

On Tuesday, MusicMatch unveiled a "personal MP3 radio station" in its MusicMatch Jukebox 6.0 beta software. "MusicMatch Radio automatically creates the MP3 Playlists you'd create yourself if you had the time," said Dennis Mudd, CEO of MusicMatch Inc. "Sometimes music fans want to create their own Playlists, but often they'd rather let a DJ do it for them. Now MusicMatch Jukebox gives listeners both options in one player."

The software lets users opt in to the MusicMatch personalization service where they can can access customized stations that match their specific tastes with those of other listeners.

MusicMatch says this takes radio programming to the next level. "Most Internet radio stations either sound like a shuffling of CDs from the 1980s or are simply terrestrial stations rebroadcasting their content online," said David Bean, vice president of programming for MusicMatch.

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