Pressplay cues up indie licensing deals

Roadrunner, Razor & Tie, Rounder among labels

Pressplay, the digital music offering backed by media congloms Vivendi Universal and Sony, has racked up content licensing deals with six independent labels, repping an eclectic range of artists from jazz great Billie Holiday to punk rock progenitors the Damned.

Service, set to bow in the fourth quarter, will offer music from indies Roadrunner, Razor & Tie, Rounder, Madacy, Navarre and Owie, all on a non-exclusive basis for online streams and downloads. Financial terms of the licensing weren’t disclosed.

Among other acts repped by the labels in the deal are Slipknot, the Misfits, Alison Krauss, 2 Live Crew, Mannheim Steamroller and Kenny Rogers. Pressplay will offer the tracks on a subscription basis for a flat monthly fee.

Earlier this month, Pressplay inked a deal to license tracks from major label group EMI for its service, giving it access to labels repping more than half the recorded music market. EMI also is a 20% equity owner in MusicNet, a rival service co-owned by AOL Time Warner, Bertelsmann and media software maker RealNetworks.

Both services have come under increasing scrutiny recently from U.S. and European competition regulators, who fear the labels may be giving Pressplay and MusicNet preferential treatment in licensing deals over smaller, third-party startups.

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