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Apple’s media blitz and apparently positive reception would seem to have altered the landscape. As labels see Steve Jobs’ independently operated alternative to their troubled sub services flourishing, they appear to have the ammo they need to let those services go.
ONLINE SERVICES FEEL
WINDS OF CHANGE
Or Is That Just Hot Air From Their Publicists? Find Out in This Story From the #1 Internet Site
With Apple’s iTunes Music Store grabbing all the headlines, some of you may be wondering what’s going on with the other online music services.

Come on, some of you must be wondering. No? Well, we’re gonna bring you up to speed anyhow.

Fact is, Apple’s media blitz and apparently positive reception would seem to have altered the landscape. As labels see Steve Jobs’ independently operated alternative to their troubled sub services flourishing, they appear to have the ammo they need to let those services go.

UMG and Sony have reportedly sold their joint-venture service Pressplay to CD-burning partner Roxio—which may max out its irony resources by giving it the Napster moniker (Roxio purchased Napster’s assets a while back, and even hired co-founder Shawn Fanning). No word yet if Roxio will italicize some portion of the service’s name in Pressplay’s honor, but if so, it should probably be the "Nap" part.

Despite the transfer of title, Fantasy announced that it had licensed its catalog to Pressplay. An enormous agglomeration of jazz, soul, blues and rock, Fantasy’s catalog includes music from an array of labels and such artists as Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Thelonious Monk, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Booker T. & The MGs, Isaac Hayes, Little Richard, Sam Cooke and John Lee Hooker, among many others.

Though the Fantasy pact was negotiated prior to the sale of Pressplay, Tuhin Roy of the Digital Media Strategy Group, which consults Fantasy, called the transfer of title "positive," adding "The combination makes sense, both financially and in terms of Roxio’s expertise."

Man, being a consultant must be sweet.

Meanwhile, WMG-BMG-EMI-RealNetworks partnership MusicNet is rumored to be on its way out (despite having debuted on America Online, with the sexy come-on "it’s legal!"). MusicNet’s prospects were not boosted by Real’s recent purchase of Listen.com, creators of the well-regarded RHAPSODY service.

But wait, there's more. All-you-can-download MP3 service EMusic, which calls itself "the Internet’s most popular downloadable music subscription service" (not to be confused with Pressplay, dubbed "the leading music subscription service" in the Fantasy release), has signed a distribution pact with the Beggars Group, a collective of nine U.K. labels. These include Beggars Banquet, 4AD, Mo Wax, XL and several others.

The deal gives EMusic subscribers (of which there are allegedly about 70,000) access to music by The Prodigy, The Cult, Badly Drawn Boy, P.J. Harvey, Dead Can Dance and other stuff that said users will look really cool for knowing about.

Listen will announce a Beggars Group-RHAPSODY deal tomorrow.

What’s more, MUSICMATCH—which, like RHAPSODY, prefers the bombast of all capitals to the intrigue of partial italicization—has signed a licensing deal with Sony; the pact gives MUSICMATCH tracks from all five of the Big Five. MUSICMATCH MX, according to a press release, is "the number-one selling online music service."

Most popular. Leading. Number one. See? Everyone’s a winner.

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