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"Our partnership with JMA is a win-win situation. We are able to leverage JMA’s unparalleled access in the music industry to ensure that our consumers can easily find and listen to quality, legal, digital music. In turn, we offer JMA access to large and growing exposure for their clients."
——Bryan Jones, e.Dig’s VP of Broadband Entertainment
TOLL TAKERS JOIN PLAYERS’ CLUB
McClusky, eDig Partner for Digital Promo Venture
Marketing and promotion firm Jeff McClusky & Associates Inc. (JMA) has entered into a deal with tech company e.Digital Corp. to provide music by its clients for download on e.Digital’s portable players and pending "Broadband Entertainment Web site," according to a release.

JMA, which claims a hand in the success of Madonna, Eminem, Limp Bizkit, Santana, U2 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among many others, will allow music from acts it works with to be "pre-loaded" into e.Digital’s upcoming Odyssey portables, which support MP3 and Windows Media files.

"We endeavor to provide our clients with high-impact exposure opportunities in all media," expounded McClusky. "e.Digital reaches a large consumer base that is passionate about music and is on the cutting edge of digital music delivery. This is a key demographic for our clients, and providing promotional tracks from superstars as well as emerging artists will increase their awareness of our clients’ music. We want to reach music lovers when they are listening to music, and pre-loading tracks on e.Digital’s players provides an outstanding opportunity to do just that."

"Our partnership with JMA is a win-win situation," reads the official quote from e.Dig’s VP of Broadband Entertainment, Bryan Jones. "We are able to leverage JMA’s unparalleled access in the music industry to ensure that our consumers can easily find and listen to quality, legal, digital music. In turn, we offer JMA access to large and growing exposure for their clients."

Jones worked in radio prior to his arrival at eDig, and McClusky was his indie. "Jeff is a large part of us being able to offer high-profile content on these players," Jones told HITS.

"We’ve talked about some up-and-comers, we haven’t talked about any library rosters yet, as we wanted to move through the first phase," Jones explains. "Obviously we’d test the waters with some baby bands, but it would not preclude us from using [superstars]. That would be a great saturation for anyone’s product."

Jones believes eDigital’s mix of hardware access and online platforms will fill a gaping void in digital delivery.

"I’d like to see more of a listening station mentality," he ventures. "Music will be bound to the player in Odyssey 100, 200 and 300 models—we have the ‘Roach Motel’ concept. In other words, music goes in but it doesn’t come out."

The company’s subscription play will offer online access to 12 to 15 songs, downloadable to a 64MB Flash-driven player. Users will have to delete old tracks to get new music. Jones insists that talks with majors over licensing of music to the service are progressing well, but won’t discuss planned monthly and/or annual fees.

Additionally, eDigital has launched WeDig.com, a free site offering independent music, exclusively for buyers of its players. "Its sole mission," Jones points out, "is to drive player sales." He promises similar delivery of other content, such as books and movies, sometime in our future.

"We’ll make our biggest splash at Christmastime with the Odyssey 1000, which Universal Music called the ‘iPod killer,’" Jones raves, not sounding at all like a promo guy. "It’s got a 20-gigabyte hard drive, FM tuner, voice-navigation—and it’s the size of a pack of cigarettes. It’s ungodly!" The company hopes to use such seasonal marketing onslaughts to obtain promotional use of superstar music.

"It's great to see a traditional radio marketing company working with digital music in a way that clearly benefits the consumer," allowed new-media consultant Karen Allen.

Others in the digital space, however, privately question the potential of the company’s strategy. "Pre-loading and promo download deals?" sniffed one observer. "Welcome to the year 2000."

Indeed, the question of how consumers will respond to these initiatives remains open. Even if eDig’s 20-gig player gives the well-marketed iPod a run for its money, the info "superhighway" is littered with the remains of well-intentioned pay services and copyright-friendly technology.

But hey, if we had a crystal ball in 2000, we would’ve invested in Anthrax-detection kits.

eDigital stock moved up .03 today, to 50 cents per share.

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