BMG deal ‘Banks on ‘Net tunes

S.F.-based Netcaster hopes to launch in Sept

BMG Entertainment will license its catalog to MusicBank.com, a San Francisco-based Netcaster that will launch in September and is billing itself as a music industry-friendly alternative to controversial services offered by MP3.com and Napster.

Besides offering a selection of streaming music files, MusicBank prexy-CEO Michael Downing said the Netco is negotiating with both e-tailers and brick-and-mortar stores to develop a way to verify the ownership of copyrighted materials that Netizens will be able to store at the site for listening.

Downing, a co-founder of music netcaster Sonique — which was sold to Lycos last year for $70 million — said it’s imperative to make it as easy as possible to give Netizens opportunity legally to store digital music or else piracy will remain rampant.

As an example of the service MusicBank intends to offer, Downing said that when a CD is purchased at an online store, the user would be presented with a box to check if they want to store the contents digitally with MusicBank’s service. All of the songs that are streamed from the site will result in royalties for the copyright holder, Downing said.

“MusicBank’s service is an innovative and secure way for BMG to bring our artists closer to their fans via the Internet,” said Kevin Conroy, chief marketing officer and prexy of the new technology division. “This agreement is an example of BMG’s enthusiasm for supporting those Internet companies that are committed to working with us to both provide consumers with convenient access to their favorite music and protect our artists’ rights.”

BMG also has invested in music Netcasters ArtistDirect, Riffage.com and Listen.com

“We have always felt that the real promise of Internet music distribution is the delivery of universal access and portability of your personal music collection,” Downing said. “Our agreement with BMG provides us with a way to deliver on that promise via an extremely powerful consumer experience, which simultaneously delivers real value and accountability to artists, the content creators.”

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