Echo Networks Receives $5 Million in Funding

Echo Networks (www.echo.com), is taking a new approach to streaming music and announced the closing of a $5 million round of financing.

The capital comes from: eBay co-founder, Jeff Skoll; former president of Disney's Hollywood Records, Peter Paterno; and founder and CEO of Wish.com, Michael Mo. Also participating were private equity investment groups, Revolution Ventures LLC and Fundamental Capital, and a broad base of other angel and institutional investors.

Echo Networks, founded in October 1999, is currently beta testing its service which allows music listeners to create a group-defined custom radio station, allowing members to log on and listen to the same music as their friends. The service combines a rating system, instant messaging and chat functions.

According to Daniel Hart, the company's co-founder and CEO, its services are differentiated from the rest by the emotional connection created through sharing the listening experience with others. Through a web-based player that requires no download, Echo listeners rate music, instant message other members of their listening communities, vote on the songs playing, and invite others to join their group stations.

Hart indicated the full service would launch by the end of the year. The current revenue model is based on ad banners on the Echo site, but with the full launch, Hart stated the company would be introducing streaming audio ads. In the future they will be exploring subscription-based services.

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