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"Our goal is to get our music one click away from anyone on the Internet."

EMI MUSIC DOWNLOADS OFF
AND RUNNING

75 Major Retailers Offer 100 Albums, 200 Singles of Digital Music
The digital race is on and EMI Music Distribution is first out of the gate.

The company has begun to offer paid digital downloads to the public, with classic titles like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" and Frank Sinatra's "Songs For Swinging Lovers" among the 100 albums and 40 singles being made available through 75 online retailers.

EMI Recorded Music Sr. VP New Media jay samit says the company has quietly been putting the system in place since July 1, but with the introduction of the New Windows Media Player 7, the downloads are now available for both Mac and PC as well as capable of enhanced Digital Rights Management.

Samit says: "This is not just a trickle, nor is it hype. We're really trying to build a way to make it as easy as possible for consumers to get the music, with less steps and less clicks."

The system allows consumers to download and play the album once before giving their credit card number and completing the purchase. An album can be downloaded within minutes, even on a 56k modem.

The EMI high-tech guru says trying to coordinate retailers' and consumers' needs and the electronics industry was an enormous task.

"We want to be able to offer a seamless buying experience," said Samit before excusing himself to make a prank call to Orrin Hatch. "Our goal is to get our music one click away from anyone on the Internet."

Samit downplays the importance of sales figures from this initial batch of available downloads, but looks to the fourth quarter sales rush as the system's most crucial test. "We just want to see which systems have the highest completion rate, which need the most tech support, what retailers find worked best with their own proprietary systems. We're in an evolutionary process and you only learn by doing.

"We made major content by major acts available to show that, as a company and a collection of artists, we're 100% behind making this happen and we're working in concert to do that. If we don't give consumers a viable alternative to stealing, you're not giving them a true choice. Can you believe how many Beatles tunes you can get on Napster?"

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