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"These agreements are a crucial step toward launching Rhapsody, and underscore the value artists and labels see in using Listen.com's services to reach a diverse audience of online listeners."
—Listen.com President/CEO Sean Ryan
LISTEN UP, UPLISTER DOWN
Listen.com Gets License For Indie Sub Service, While List Exchange Uplister Gets Retired
As you may have gathered from following reports on the tech world here and elsewhere, developing a viable online music service is no cakewalk.

But digital music provider Listen.com is betting on the appeal of independent labels and genres to websurfers with Rhapsody, a subscription-based service it will distribute to partner sites, allegedly beginning sometime this fall.

Listen today announced that it had obtained licensing agreements from an array of indie labels, including Alligator, Bar/None, Bloodshot, Knitting Factory Records, Ninja Tune Records, What Are Records? (W.A.R.) Ltd, Heyday Records, J-Bird Music Group, Om, Strictly Hype and quite a few others that are, frankly, too cool for remedial nerds like ourselves to have heard of.

Rhapsody, according to a release, will encompass "on-demand music" (presumably downloads but probably also streaming), Net radio, taste-based recommend-
ations and additional music information. The service looks to be more of an alternative to mainstream digital syndicators like Pressplay and MusicNet. But the sub service will probably be going head to head with the for-pay version of Napster, which announced a deal with a UK-based independent label confederation in June (see story, 6/26).

Nonetheless, the success of offbeat records like the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack indicates an appetite for genres that aren’t heard on Pop radio or the major music-video networks.

"Since its inception, Listen.com has delivered legitimate products and services that balance consumer interest in digital music with the concerns of labels and copyright holders. The Rhapsody service continues that tradition," gushed Listen.com Prexy/CEO Sean Ryan. "These agreements are a crucial step toward launching Rhapsody, and underscore the value artists and labels see in using Listen.com's services to reach a diverse audience of online listeners. And if this doesn’t work out, we’ll make a pretty penny selling our office furniture."

Still, nothing indicates the uphill battle faced by such services like the demise of yet another forward-looking online service, Uplister.

Despite offering considerable appeal for its user base—which avidly posted songlists to share with the community, which were linked to music samples and the chance to purchase CDs—the company’s funder, August Capital, decided to put a halt to the venture. This before Uplister had a chance to debut its own sub service, which it had hoped to launch by year’s end (see story, 7/19).

Uplister plans to sell its assets.

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