"We have to get out of the mind-set of selling round things, and have to sell services."
——Edgar Bronfman, Jr., Vivendi Universal Executive VP

PRESSPLAY TO PRESS "PLAY" IN SEPTEMBER

Hey, It Will Still Be Late Summer In Some Places
Damn this Plug.In conference and its accompanying announcements. On top of a CEO change at Napster and Zomba joining MusicNet, now there’s a new launch date for Pressplay.

Vivendi Universal Executive VP Edgar Bronfman Jr. told a press conference at Jupiter Media Metrix’s Plug.In conference today that Pressplay, the Internet-based sub-service joint venture between Vivendi Universal and Sony, will debut in the first half of September. That’s a change from the "late summer" launch schedule party line that both it and rival MusicNet, the competing sub service from AOLTW, EMI, Bertelsmann and RealNetworks, have been parroting since the services were announced in late spring.

Pressplay has distribution and hosting deals with Microsoft’s MSN Network and Yahoo. Why just last week, Pressplay announced plans to use MP3.com’s tech backbone in the service—which makes sense because Vivendi Universal has purchased the tech company.

Bronfman told the conference that neither sub-service will be as successful as possible unless each has music from all of the Big Five. No duh: "I don’t think Pressplay and MusicNet will merge, but both will have licenses to all music. I don’t think it’s going to take two to three years, and I don’t think it’s going to be tomorrow. Does that narrow it down enough for you?"

Neither Pressplay nor MusicNet has signed deals with publishers, meaning that the September launch date could hinge on those. Bronfman said that negotiations with publishers were ongoing though more than one "comprehensive offer" on behalf of the labels had been rejected.

Also, Bronfman noted that Pressplay would set its own prices for its service, while MusicNet will license music to third parties, who will set their own. "We have to get out of the mind-set of selling round things, and have to sell services," he said.

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