Online custom CD maker adds Zomba artists to list

Pact gives Musicmaker.com boost

Musicmaker.com has inked an exclusive, five-year licensing deal with the Zomba Group, giving it access to the company’s artists, including the Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears and R. Kelly, a move that could help the struggling online custom CD maker finally turn a profit.

Reston, Va.-based Musicmaker.com said Monday the deal will give it access to songs in Zomba’s complete catalog of record labels, including Jive, which recently released both the Backstreet Boys’ “Millennium” and Spears’ “Baby One More Time” albums.

Deal will add thousands of tracks to Musicmaker.com’s current library of 200,000 songs.

Zomba takes stake

Zomba has also taken an equity stake in Musicmaker.com. Financial details weren’t available.

The terms are similar to the pact Musicmaker.com inked with EMI Recorded Music in June, giving the online venture access to EMI’s catalog of 500,000 songs. However, only 100,000 of the 500,000 song licenses from the deal have been cleared. About 250,000 are expected to be available by the end of the 1999. EMI took a 40% stake in the site.

“We like the quality of Musicmaker.com’s senior management and their well-thought-out business plan, and are pleased to be entering this strategic business relationship with them,” said Clive Calder, chairman and CEO of Zomba.

Musicmaker.com enables Internet users to create their own CD compilations by choosing from the site’s library of songs that includes Mozart’s compositions, Miles Davis’ jazz classics and Frank Zappa’s rock ‘n’ roll.

Consumer magnet

The CD maker is banking on its diverse musical content, gained through alliances with more than 100 record labels, to be a magnet for consumers who are turning to the ‘Net to buy music.

Other partnerships include Razor & Tie records, and marketing agreements with record club Columbia House, Audio Book Club and Platinum Entertainment.

Musicmaker.com recently reported a second-quarter loss of $3.6 million, larger than the loss of $830,215 last year. It collected sales of $47,671 for the period.

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