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Nielsen BDS To Begin Tracking Tethered Downloads

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Nielsen Entertainment’s Broadcast Data Systems (BDS) will start measuring tethered digital music downloads from the Internet’s leading providers, including MusicNet (supplying tethered digital music engine for companies such as AOL, Yahoo!, Virgin Digital, Cdigix), Napster and RealNetworks’ Rhapsody. This new information will be added to programmed and on-demand streaming which is already available in Nielsen BDS. The Nielsen BDS data matrix is the exclusive source for comprehensive measurement of music performances in traditional broadcast radio, satellite radio, music video outlets, Internet streaming, and now tethered downloads. The tethered music information will identify and display the number of times U.S. consumers listen to specific song titles in the music libraries of all of the subscription services.

Tethered music downloads are digital songs available on an unlimited basis through online music subscription services. The subscription model gives consumers access to listen to an unlimited number of songs from a substantial catalog (on PC or portable music player) for a flat monthly fee. Subscriptions services have grown significantly in the past year with more than two million current subscribers.

“Nielsen Music services are acknowledged as the global leader in measuring music consumption," said Rob Sisco, president of Nielsen Music. "By adding tethered download measurement to our BDS services, as a companion feature to our tracking of digital download sales in Nielsen SoundScan, we are following through on our charter to provide unparalleled information and analysis to our clients in the recorded music industry."

Nielsen BDS currently measures online digital music streams and on-demand music from AOL Music and Yahoo! Music, and will be expanding this measurement by adding streams from Napster, RealNetworks’ Rhapsody and MusicNet. With these additions, Nielsen BDS projects that it will be tracking more than 100 million streams a week and estimates that it will track more than 5 million tethered plays a week by the end of 2005. Nielsen BDS currently monitors music performances from more than 1,400 radio stations, all major music video outlets in the U.S and Canada and satellite radio from XM and Sirius. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen