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MICROSOFT INVESTS UNDISCLOSED AMOUNT IN MUSIC CHOICE
Tech Behemoth Now Holds Minority Equity Stake, Music Choice To Offer Subscription Service
What do you give a behemoth that has everything? How about more of what it already has?

To help the company start up a subscription-based Web service, Microsoft has invested an undisclosed amount in Music Choice, a provider of digital music via cable, satellite and the Internet. The two companies have been affiliated since last year, when Music Choice announced that its audio channels would support Microsoft Windows Media 4.0.

Music Choice is a partnership between Motorola, several cable companies, Sony Corp., Warner Music Group and EMI Music.

Microsoft now holds a minority equity stake in Music Choice, although it is up to a federal judge which side of Microsoft holds the stake: whether the "Windows" side or the "Internet Explorer" side. The influx of cash from Microsoft will help Music Choice expand the number of audio-streaming channels it offers through its Web site.

Music Choice currently offers the subscription-based "Backstage Pass." For an annual fee of $4.99, members have access to 30 streamed music channels, as well as on-demand programming and exclusive downloads, chats and contests. The "Pass" is also good for Music Choice's OnStage concert series.

"The Music Choice Web site is taking a leap forward in attempting to generate revenue from Web content. This is a viable business model that all sites will have to implement eventually in order to become profitable," said Music Choice President/CEO Dave Del Beccaro. "Either that or we'll all have to resort to porn."

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