$41.5 mil streams to WWW.com

Carlton leads investors in online radio funding

HOLLYWOOD — WWW.com, an Internet company that provides the technological backbone for online radio stations, announced Wednesday that it has accumulated $41.5 million of venture capital funding during the past year.

Based in Santa Monica, WWW.com provides the encoding for digital music that is offered at Web sites ranging from CollegeBroadcast.com to UrbanGoods.com.

The investment was led by Carlton Communications, which gave $25.6 million to WWW.com’s efforts in setting up WWW.com Europe. Other investors included Synapse Capital, Gold & Appel and Transamerica Business Credit Corp.

In February, WWW.com and the RIAA inked a deal that gives the company the license to stream works by RIAA artists in exchange for the payment of royalties.

Profit anticipated

According to Mike Romano, veep of marketing, WWW.com expects to turn a profit during the first quarter of 2001, a little more than two years after the company was launched.

“Our revenue model is different in a couple of ways,” Romano said. “Being a pure ad play is just a really thin business model. We charge a programming fee and a streaming fee, which covers the cost of bandwidth and of paying royalties to the RIAA.”

While it may cost money up front, the deal with RIAA, Romano said, also gets WWW.com out of the legal morass that has encompassed other digital music providers, like MP3.com and Napster.

“This agreement is terrific news for record labels and the music community as a whole,” Steve Marks, senior veep for business affairs at the RIAA, said at the time of the pact. “WWW.com recognizes the value of music and is entering into a partnership that will benefit the creators of music.”

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