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"The choice of technologies for this initiative was critical, and using Windows Media helps us provide the best possible experience to the broadest possible audience."
—WMG Exec VP Paul Vidich

WMG, MICROSOFT TEAM FOR
ONLINE DISTRIBUTION

Windows Media To Be Primary Format For Commercial Audio Downloads
Warner Music Group announced today (11/1) a deal to use Microsoft's Windows Media as its primary format for commercial audio downloads over the next three years.

Microsoft's audio format, used by three of the other four major labels—BMG, Sony and EMI—has become popular with record labels in part because of its anti-copying features aimed at impeding online music pirates.

WMG, perhaps due to its pending merger with America Online, has lagged behind competitors in readying its catalog for the Internet.

The first WMG tracks for sale in the format will include Yolanda Adams, Barenaked Ladies, k.d. lang, matchbox twenty, Orgy, Pantera, Phish, Keith Sweat and others. At launch, downloads will be available at Musicland's MediaPlay.com, SamGoody.com, Suncoast.com and OnCue.com as well as Tower's TowerRecords.com and CDNow.

"The choice of technologies for this initiative was critical, and using Windows Media helps us provide the best possible experience to the broadest possible audience," said Paul Vidich, Executive VP, Strategic Planning and Business Development, WMG.

"Warner's commitment to digital commerce and Windows Media is a breakthrough for the millions of people who enjoy the flexibility and convenience that digital music provides," said Will Poole, VP of the Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "By making such a broad range of great titles available, Warner is delivering what consumers want—fast and easy access to music from their favorite artists."

WMG is also working with Liquid Audio to provide digital distribution services to these retailers.

Additional retail partners as well as new music download offerings will be announced shortly after launch.

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