Tower spins global plans for Internet

Music retailer to launch e-commerce venture

Tower Records is going global: The U.S. music retailer plans to launch a new venture on the Internet that will allow consumers around the world to order music, videos and books from their computers.

Slated to debut the second week of November, the new site will enable consumers to order music in six languages and 150 different currencies from 40 locations in the company’s global distribution network. Besides the option to purchase product, the site also will feature audio samples, reviews, track listings and cover art.

“Whether you are mad for Madonna in Mozambique or avid for ABBA in Alaska, Tower Records’ range of over 600,000 entertainment titles from music to videos to books will be available at the end of your fingerprints,” Tower said, in a statement.

The Website address will be announced in coming weeks.

Tower has inked a deal with EIS/MusicNet to provide the online system for the service, to be based in London. It already operates two online franchises in the U.S. and Japan (www.towerrecords.com), which are expected eventually to link up with its global network.

The move comes just days after another music retailer, CDnow Inc (www.cdnow.com), announced the launch of CDnow Europe and the opening of its European-based shipping hub to serve more than 37 countries in Europe and the Middle East. It added 100,000 international titles to its inventory, and provides services in nine languages.

Other rivals such as Richard Branson’s Virgin Group are expected to launch their own global stores online. Virgin Retail said its planned to set up a UK-specific Website, but has yet to set a date.

Tower Records has more than 200 stores in North and South America, Asia, the Middle East and the United Kingdom.

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