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"This new funding validates what we have known all along—that MusicMatch is a serious player in the digital music arena with a solid business model that will have a substantial impact on the online music industry for years to come."
—Dennis Mudd
DOWNLOAD = MOTHERLODE!
The Digital Delivery Vanguard Is In The Money
Whether or not the download is destined to become the reigning means of digital distribution, companies focusing on DDM are getting a big confidence boost in the form of some massive cash infusions and tasty strategic alliances.

Among the heftier deals to come down in the last few days: Supertracks received $18 million from Mohr, Davidow Ventures, MusicMatch picked up $16.6 million from Redpoint Ventures and, last but not least, ArtistDirect made a move to acquire Mjuice.com in a stock deal worth up to $15 million.

Throw in Universal Music Group’s just-announced plan to start putting up its entire catalog this spring, and it would seem that the DDM Revolution is in full swing—or at least that it’s got a snazzy new uniform.

Here’s the skinny on the new fat cats:

Supertracks, which adds MDV’s George Zachary to its board of directors as part of the deal, plans to use the financing to "support implementation of DDM systems with major music companies and leading online retailers." The B2B company allows retailers and labels to integrate the selling of downloads and physical product. Supertracks is working with Musicland and EMI Recorded Music, among others.

"We believe MDV in general, and George Zachary in particular, provide Supertracks with a multidimensional insight into the industry and a strong vision for the future," said Supertracks honcho Charles Jennings. "And hey, if I’m wrong, you can find me in St. Bart’s and tell me so."

MusicMatch plans to accelerate marketing and product development efforts for its just-released Jukebox 5.0, which enables users to download from the Net, record from their collections and create their own musical databases.

"This new funding validates what we have known all along—that MusicMatch is a serious player in the digital music arena with a solid business model that will have a substantial impact on the online music industry for years to come," said MusicMatch CEO Dennis Mudd without taking a breath. "We now have the financial backing to step up our marketing efforts while maintaining our autonomy and focusing on what we do best—issuing obtuse press releases and watching our stock climb."

ArtistDirect’s guzzling of Mjuice is arguably the biggest news, because the acquisition gives the company the secure-delivery technology it has lacked. With nearly $100 million in investments from UMG, Sony, Warner Music Group and BMG, ArtistDirect will be able to provide all of the major labels with secure digital distribution. IPO, anyone?

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