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Oz Online Music Service To Offer Music from All Five Top Labels

(CelebrityAccess News Service) – With consumer demand for online music growing rapidly, ninemsn is to launch Australia's premier online music store. The service will offer music from all five of the top record labels and is to be powered by OD2, the leading European online music distributor. The new service on Australia's most popular Internet site is scheduled for launch early in the new year. Consumers will be able to purchase songs from BMG, EMI, Festival Mushroom, Sony, Universal and Warner Music, as well as Ministry of Sound, Beggars Banquet and numerous independent labels, through ninemsn's exclusive partnership with OD2.

"ninemsn has partnered with the world's leading labels and premier online distribution company to ensure maximum choice and ease of use for consumers," said Martin Hoffman, CEO, ninemsn. "This service will cement ninemsn's position as the leading one-stop shop for music on the Internet".

With more than 250,000 songs available, OD2 hosts the largest collection of legal, virus-free music tracks for download outside North America. The OD2 catalogue has repertoire from over 6000 commercially successful artists. From best-selling artists like Coldplay, Silverchair, Kylie Minogue, Delta Goodrem to perennial sellers like Madonna, REM, Queen, Pink Floyd, and The Rolling Stones to newcomers like Daniel Beddingfield, The Darkness, The Cooper Temple Clause and The Black Eyed Peas.

Using the OD2 system, ninemsn users will be able to buy real-time music "streams", time-restricted downloads or permanent copies of songs to keep on their computers, portable players or other digital music devices.

"The marketing power and reach of ninemsn combined with OD2's proven track record in online distribution will set this service apart," Charles Grimsdale, CEO of OD2, said. "We know from monitoring sales figures in both Europe and North America that take up is directly related to the number of commercial tracks available, and, with over 250,000 tracks, we think it's going to be pretty compelling."

In addition to paid music downloads, ninemsn Music will continue to feature free music clips, interviews with stars, exclusive album and music video previews, online chats with celebrities, competitions and much more.

"Our long-term vision is to provide consumers with a fully integrated music entertainment service; given that ninemsn already provides the number one music content site and is shaping up to deliver the largest music download service, ninemsn is well placed to deliver this," said Hoffman.

Paul Robinson, COO, EMI, said, "As part of our much wider digital strategy, EMI is delighted to make available our music through ninemsn. Legal downloads are a format that the consumer now demands, and in conjunction with OD2, an EMI business partner in Europe, we see this is as an excellent opportunity not only for our many superstar artists but also exciting new artists such as The Vines, Jet, and The Sleepy Jackson."

Denis Handlin, chairman and chief executive, Sony Music Entertainment Australia, added, "Being Australia's largest Internet portal, ninemsn is in an incredible position to provide access to a huge selection of music to millions of Australians. Online customers will be able to buy one track or complete albums at any time, on any day. It is important for legitimate sales channels to create the online music retail market and there is no doubt that the entry of ninemsn into this space is a very exciting and welcome step both for the industry and consumers."

"We are very excited about the partnership between ninemsn and OD2 to provide a legitimate digital download service in Australia," said George Ash, managing director, Universal Music, Australia. "Both companies are pioneers in the online music industry and I am sure this relationship will be hugely successful and will deliver consumers a great service."

Jon Simon, director New Media, Warner Music Australia, noted, "Warner Music is seriously committed to the new online and wireless distribution channels and is delighted to partner with ninemsn to help create a great service for all Australian music lovers." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen