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Soundbreak silenced

Acacia stops the music, cuts remaining employees

This article was corrected on Feb. 20, 2001.

Is a sudden switch to online syndication a synonym for sudden death? Days after announcing it was switching to a syndication business model, digital music Netco Soundbreak.com closed its doors Thursday at the behest of parent company Acacia Research. The remaining 35 employees received pinkslips — more than 30 had already been laid off in recent months.

“Due to market conditions, we were unable to monetize the business plan or to raise the additional capital necessary to sustain the company’s long-term growth,” said Paul Ryan, chairman and CEO. Ryan said the company was unable to generate sufficient online advertising revenues. Soundbreak’s content, which included a proprietary media player that showcased deejays Netcasting live music and doing interviews, appeared on sites Bored.com, AngryCoffee.com and StreamSearch.com.

The switching-to-syndication announcement has been made by several other Netcos in the days leading up to their demise. Destination sites Wirebreak and Icebox said they were exploring a syndication scheme before they cut the cord.

Amendment Jan. 1, 2001: Wirebreak.com continues to syndicate its content to Web sites. The company has not shuttered.

In its original incarnation, Wirebreak, founded by David Wertheimer, former prexy of Paramount Digital Entertainment, relied on a revenue plan that focessed on adevrtising. But the site had difficulty attracting enough eyeballs to make its business model work.

Icebox was frozen out two weeks ago after execs considered enhancing its revenue stream in a number of ways, including syndication and pay-per-view. Netcaster had originally hoped to make a go of it by using a combination of advertising revenue and proceeds from deals with studios and networks.

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