Digital music company to become independent

Digital music company MusicNet, the only surviving musicstore from the pre-iTunes era, has been acquired by private equity firm Baker Capital.

Financial details weren’t disclosed.

MusicNet doesn’t operate its own iTunes-like store, instead powering similar services for companies including America Online and Virgin. It’s rumored to be behind upcoming musicstores from Yahoo! and MTV.

MusicNet was created by EMI, Warner Music, BMG and RealNetworks as the first of two digital music services, along with Universal and Sony’s Pressplay.

Both companies offered complex subscription services that fared poorly. Pressplay was later bought out and became the core of the legit version of Napster.

MusicNet persevered, though, thanks in large part to its presence on America Online. As it grew its library and revamped its offerings, company began signing up other distribution partners.

Still, its position as the child of three music labels and RealNetworks, which also owns online music service Rhapsody, was awkward.

Under Baker, MusicNet will be completely independent and have access to additional capital to expand its business.

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