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"Consumers of all ages demand the ability to purchase music online. By being one of the first to offer paid downloads from all five major labels to our fans, MTVi continues its tradition of being ahead of the curve in the world of music. Need I remind you that ‘Road Rules’ and ‘The Real World’ were the first reality shows?"
——MTVi Group President/CEO Nicholas Butterworth

MTV, RIOPORT SITTIN’ IN A TREE
D-O-W-N-L-O-A-D-I-N-G

New Service Will Feature Music From Big Five Labels, Burgers From Big Five Restaurants
The MTVi Group and RioPort today announced that they will offer paid music downloads from all of the Big Five labels, becoming, unless we're mistaken, the first companies to do so—legally anyway.

RioPort will start rolling out commercial downloads from BMG, EMI, Sony, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group on Radio MTV.com (which officially launches today) and VH1atWork Radio beginning this month. In the coming months, RioPort will also roll out on Country.com and other sites in its e-tailer network.

For Pete's sake, the RioPort-MTVi joint venture is even DMCA-compliant.

"This exciting development shows that the music industry is moving forward to support compelling Internet music offerings," said RioPort President/CEO Jim Long. "Did you notice that I avoided using the word ‘finally' in that sentence?"

"For MTVi, this is a major step in our ongoing effort to offer our audience new ways to access the music and the artists they love," said MTVi Group President/CEO Nicholas Butterworth. "Consumers of all ages demand the ability to purchase music online. By being one of the first to offer paid downloads from all five major labels to our fans, MTVi continues its tradition of being ahead of the curve in the world of music. Need I remind you that ‘Road Rules' and ‘The Real World' were the first reality shows?"

This good news for MTVi comes hot on the heels of the bad news for 25% of its staff, the percentage laid off Tuesday (4/3). According to CNET News.com, the cut spanned VH1.com, MTV.com and Sonicnet.com sites. With the layoffs, MTVi officially shelved plans to go public, having been folded under the management of MTV Networks.

Sonicnet will trim its classical and jazz staffs, leaving most of its other departments alone.

"In this current revenue climate, we are unable to put considerable resources behind these areas and have reluctantly reduced their support and their staff," MTV spokeswoman Jeanine Smartt told CNET.com. "At the same time, we need to devote time and resources to the Sonicnet elements that are growing and thriving."

These layoffs come just a week after MTV announced its plans for MTV360, which would link its Internet efforts with the cable channels MTV and MTV2.

And that plan comes just 38 years after JFK's assassination. Coincidence? We think not!

REPUBLIC UPS GOLDSTEIN, ROPPO TO CO-PRESIDENTS
Team Lipman doubles up. (11/26a)
MAYBE, JUST MAYBE:
HOLIDAY CHEER IS HERE
Season's bleatings (11/23a)
COUNTRY GRAMMYS' ROOTS ARE SHOWING
Deck the Grammys with boughs of Holly. (11/24a)
THE BRITISH
ARE COMING
Rolling out our U.K. Special print issue (11/24a)
AND THE GRAMMY NOMINEES ARE...
Olivia, the Biebs, H.E.R., Doja Cat, Billie and Jon Batiste lead the way. (11/24a)
TURKEY
Basting.
STUFFING
Stuffing.
YAMS
Candying.
PUMPKIN PIE
Stuffing (in face).
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