BMG Entertainment laid out its plans for making its music available on the Internet yesterday one of the first of the major labels to come forward with a definitive plan.
BMG, the $4.7 billion music division of Bertelsmann that is run by Strauss Zelnick, is home to artists such as Whitney Houston, Carlos Santana, Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears. BMG said it will roll out current hits and back catalog tunes on the Web this summer.
The number of titles made available on the 'Net will speed up "significantly," the company said, with the goal of having a "substantial amount" of music available for sale through electronic distribution by this holiday season.
The broad announcement came just one month after Bertelsmann chief Thomas Middelhoff professed his disppointment with the "momentum" of the BMG/Universal online music alliance with GetMusic.
But the technology gurus at the label said the company waited until yesterday to make the announcement because it wanted to make sure its music would be safe from the mass piracy sweeping the Internet.
Music sites such as MP3.com and Napster are under fire and entwined in legal battles for allegedly posting music without permission from the rightful owner.
BMG said it will partner with IBM's Electronic Media Management System (EMMS), InterTrust Technologies Corp.'s Digital Rights Management technology and Windows Media.
In addition, BMG announced alliances with Digital World Services and Reciprocal for digital rights management services and has selected Liquid Audio to develop an infrastructure.
"After many months of performing extensive technical and business due diligence on the long list of companies moving into the digital music market, we are pleased to take these important and very exciting steps toward making our artists' music widely available through digital downloading," said Kevin Conroy, senior VP of Worldwide Marketing and New Technolgy at BMG.
Conroy told The Post the next step for BMG is to sit down with individual retailers to hammer out the details of the roll-out.
He said just who and what will be released and the pricing will be addressed in the coming months.