AOL unveils music store with MusicNow acquisition

MUMBAI: Online music fans in the US who love digital music have a new place to 'tune in' to discover, sample and buy music on the web.

America Online has acquired the business of a digital music subscription company MusicNow

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The company was previously held by Circuit City Stores. AOL has also announced that a broad public preview of the new web-based digital music service is now available - AOL will be gradually upgrading current MusicNet@AOL subscribers to the new service, called AOL Music Now.

AOL says that the MusicNow transaction allows ir to superserve its AOL members and expanding web audience with a truly best-in-class, full-service, digital music platform giving the company the opportunity to offer an unparalleled music service. Combined with leading programming on AOL Music, the easy-to-use features for music browsing, discovering, sharing, and purchasing of MusicNow provides a new level of customization and personalisation of online music. AOL further says that its users have been asking for these next-generation features to be a part of their music experience - and AOL Music Now will deliver them.

MusicNow persident Gary Cohen says, We are thrilled to join AOL. Over the past six years, MusicNow has focussed on building an easy-to-use service of unprecedented accessibility that delivers a highly personalised experience. The goal now is to become the number one music service. With AOLs entertainment properties, scale, and marketing opportunities, were confident well get there. Its a powerful opportunity.

Representing the next generation of digital music services, AOL Music Now will provide visitors with the option to browse and purchase music on an a la carte ($.99 per track) or subscription basis from any Internet-connected PC, without downloading separate media player software. Subscriptions to the new service will be available for $9.95 per month for unlimited streaming and downloading to a computer, or $14.95 for unlimited streaming and downloading to a computer and any PlayForSure compatible portable music device. Songs can be managed with a Windows Media Player, or compatible player.

The AOL Music Now service will also offer unique personalisation features, such as daily custom playlists and community features, such as the ability to view and share music profiles with other visitors. The service will be integrated with the portal and AOL Music.

MusicNow carries a complete digital music collection of over one million songs from the four major music labels EMI, Sony/BMG, Universal Music Group, and the Warner Music Group. It has also been successful at building relationships with an expanding list of independent labels -- including V2, Rounder, Epitaph, Tommy Boy, Roadrunner, Blue Note, The Orchard, and Astralwerks.

AOL senior VP programming Bill Wilson says, The acquisition of MusicNow, combined with the launch of the new AOL Music Now service, is yet another powerful milestone in a year of notable milestones and pioneering accomplishments by the AOL Music brand. From the record-breaking broadcasts of the Live 8 concerts, to the launch of XM Satellite Radio on AOL Radio, to our newest efforts through the Network Live series of concerts - online consumers and music fans can tune in anytime, anywhere, to experience, discover, and enjoy the very best and latest in music.

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