" writeme += "

" writeme += "" writeme += "" writeme += "" writeme += "

" playme.document.write(writeme); playme.document.close(); if((navigator.appName == "Netscape") && (navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= "3")) {playme.focus();} if((navigator.appName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer") && (navigator.appVersion.substring(0,1) >= "4")) {playme.focus();} if (playme.opener == null) { playme.opener = self; } } function play(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall) { var cm=GetCookie("playbar"); if (cm != null) { //if (cm=="nh" && neth=="t") { cm="hi.asx"; //if(aol||nstr||iebug) { //} else { // showvid('asf',vid+cm); //} } else { if (cm=="nh" && neth!="t") { this.sec=1; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="nl" && netl=="t") { cm="lo.asx"; //if(aol||nstr||iebug) { //} else { // showvid('asf',vid+cm); //} } else { if (cm=="nl" && netl!="t") { this.sec=1; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="rh" && realh=="t") { cm="hi.rmm"; if(aol||iebug) { } else { showvid('rm',vid+cm); } } else { if (cm=="rh" && realh!="t") { this.sec=2; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } if (cm=="rl" && reall=="t") { cm="lo.rmm"; if(aol||iebug) { } else { showvid('rm',vid+cm); } } else { if (cm=="rl" && reall!="t") { this.sec=2; pbw(vid,neth,netl,realh,reall); } } } window.onerror = MSIE; // -->

Thu, Nov 02, 2000 EST
fundsnav.gif (2552 bytes)

Account Management
Site Help
Market Wire Home
Fox News Online Home
Live Ticker
Indices Chart
Click on index
for more information
Seagram, Bertelsmann Join Forces to Sell Music Online
By Seth Sutel  Associated Press
NEW YORK — Media giants Seagram Co. and Bertelsmann AG are joining forces to sell music online, where they face stiff competition from online retailers like Amazon.com and CDnow.

Marty Lederhandler/AP
Edgar Bronfman and Dr. Thomas Middelhoff hope to leverage their sizable library of music to go up against online retail giants like Amazon.com

Seagram's Universal Music Group unit and Bertelsmann's BMG Entertainment subsidiary are hoping to use their relationships with hundreds of artists to lure online customers by offering access to stars, video and audio clips and other proprietary content.

Together the companies control about 40 percent of the American music market, including record labels Geffen, A&M;, Arista and RCA. Represented artists include Jimi Hendrix, Kenny G, Motley Crue and TLC.

The joint venture announced in New York Wednesday would add Universal artists to five existing Web sites run by BMG which cater to specific musical tastes, such as peeps.com for hip-hop and twangthis.com for country music.

The sites are linked to a new online music store, getmusic.com, which would also offer CDs from other labels. All the sites are currently running, but the companies expect to launch revamped versions this summer.

Record companies have been scrambling to come up with online music strategies as it becomes easier to download bootleg music from the Internet. They are hoping to agree on a digital standard that would allow them to control the downloading of music and ensure that the companies and artists receive royalties.

So far Seagram and Bertelsmann are not talking about letting users download music themselves, although the move to establish a beachhead in cyberspace could clearly set the stage for such efforts in the future.

The announcement of the project received lukewarm views from industry analysts, who say the effort may need to evolve before finding success with consumers.

"In terms of building an online sales site around specific music genres, record companies may be putting the cart before the horse," said Melissa Blane, an analyst with the Yankee Group consulting company in Boston. "First-time online music shoppers are more likely to go to a general music site."

"If I were Amazon, I wouldn't be afraid right now," agreed James McQuivey, a senior analyst with the consulting group Forrester Research.

For the moment, music retailers don't appear to be worried about record companies taking away their business with online sales. Marcia Apple, vice president of leading music retailer Musicland Stores Corp. of Minneapolis, says that any new technology that increases awareness of music can help sell music overall.

"From our perspective, people are just trying to figure out where this new distribution channel is going," Apple said. "The music clubs were supposed to kill the record retailers, but they didn't. It's another in a series of distribution systems."

Apple said that Musicland plans to have its Sam Goody stores set up Internet sales sites this June.

BMG already runs a mail-order music club, which competes with the Columbia House direct sales unit run by Time Warner Inc. and Sony Corp. The online operations of BMG's music club would not be affected by the arrangement with Universal.

Seagram's stock surged $4.06 1/4 or 7.4 percent to $59 on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday on news of the Bertelsmann deal and also of its agreement to sell its PolyGram Filmed Entertainment and October Films units to USA Networks.

Investors have been rewarding the Montreal-based company, traditionally known as a whiskey maker, as it builds up its entertainment holdings, which include the Universal movie studio.

In addition to its music business, Germany-based Bertelsmann, a private company, also owns the publishing houses Random House and Bantam Doubleday Dell, and has a half interest in Barnes & Noble's online bookstore.

More Marketwire More MarketWire News Top of Page

© 2000, News Digital Media, Inc. d/b/a Fox News Online
All rights reserved. Fox News is a registered trademark of 20th Century Fox Film Corp.
Data from Thomson Financial Interactive is subject to the following Privacy Statement
© 2000 Associated Press. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.