Pressplay adds BMG catalog to online music

By Ron Harris The Associated Press
Wednesday October 16, 2002

SAN FRANCISCO – Pressplay, the joint online music venture of Sony Corp. and Vivendi Universal SA, has inked a deal with BMG to add its music catalog to the song streaming and download service. 

The deal, announced Monday, brings pressplay one step closer to providing content from all five major recording companies. BMG’s roster of top artists includes Christina Aguilera, Placido Domingo and The Strokes and the deal means pressplay will now have music content from Sony, Universal, BMG and EMI available to its customers. 

“The addition of this fourth major music company is another important step forward for pressplay. Following the successful launch of our latest version, which includes commercial-free radio, pressplay continues to deliver to our members the features and music they want,” said Michael Bebel, president and chief executive officer of pressplay. 

“We are pleased to make our music available through pressplay,” said Michael Smellie, BMG’s chief operating officer. “This license agreement further demonstrates BMG’s commitment to bringing music to consumers online in a way that is dynamic and respects our artists’ rights.” 

A source close to pressplay’s chief competitor, MusicNet, said it’s just days away from bringing the same Big Five companies under one corporate online roof to offer a wide array of digital song downloads. 

The source told The AP that MusicNet had completed an agreement with Universal and was poised to sign another agreement with Sony within days. 

MusicNet is the joint venture of AOL Time Warner, Inc., EMI Group PLC and Bertelsmannn AG. Neither MusicNet nor pressplay currently offers content from each of the five major companies, nor have the ventures divulged how many people have subscribed to the services.