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More Competition for Online Music Pioneer

Techstination feature for Monday, March 22, 2004

An online music pioneer has lots of company today. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Musicmatch has been around for eight years…and has more than 45 million registered users of its Jukebox software. But lately Apple has been in the spotlight with its iTunes software and iPod digital music players. MusicMatch has had to play catch up in offering a la carte downloading of songs and has to compete with Real Networks, Napster and soon, it seems, everyone from Microsoft to Wal-Mart. But senior VP for business development Bob Ohlweiler says…

"It's a clear signal that this is a big market, that it is important, that it is growing. And so it really validates the marketplace that we started going after several years ago."

Partnerships are playing a key role in the company's plans to compete. Dell for instance, uses MusicMatch software with its portable digital music players. And a promotion will be launched this spring with Coca-Cola's Sprite brand…similar to the collaboration between Apple and Pepsi. The Musicmatch MX subscription service… is where the company makes most of its money. And Ohlweiler says new digital rights technology may soon allow subscribers to take that music with them on portable devices…

"That's definitely going to happen by the Christmas time frame. You'll start seeing services and products that allow that. And that's really going to reinvigorate the whole subscription business as well."

One thing that's clear…he says…the way in which music is listened to and purchase has changed forever. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.