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"We're not afraid not to be first movers in this space. We think that if we time it right, it will be the second movers who win."
—-Zack Zalon

VIRGIN DIGITAL GIVES IT UP TO MUSICNET

Branson Company Launches Online Store, Digital Jukebox
If they can convince people to turn their cell phones into portable MP3 players, more companies will want to be like a Virgin.

Virgin Digital, the latest company from the Virgin Group, is developing its own digital jukebox and online music store, which it will launch by the end of August with 700,000 songs. As part of the launch, it will offer the Virgin Music Club, which will allow subscribers to stream or download music and put them on their Virgin-branded music players. Virgin is developing the service with MusicNet.

According to Virgin Digital President Zack Zalon zee Virgin cellular customers will be able to use their phones as portable MP3 players, downloading zee songs right to their phones. Virgin Digital will also include a digital jukebox, access to Virgin’s digital music club and its Radio Free Virgin net radio stations, and the ability to burn songs to CD. The store will let users buy tracks a la carte or subscribe to the service. Songs will be in the Windows Media Audio format. Virgin Digital software will be available on disc at Virgin Megastores or as a download from Virgin.com. But remain calm, it’s not until August.

Prices for the service and individual songs were not released, but Zalon, previously GM of Radio Free Virgin, said, “It’ll be hyper competitive…We're not afraid not to be first movers in this space. We think that if we time it right, it will be the second movers who win. Think of it this way: It’s the not the first not movers not losing.”

The newly launched Virgin Digital has offices in Los Angeles and London. Virgin Group Ltd. includes an airline, V2 Records, mobile phone services, the Virgin Megastores and more. MusicNet is the music service owned by RealNetworks, BMG, EMI and Warner Music.

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