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AT&T Company Upgrades Music Delivery Platform

AT&T subsidiary a2b music, a digital music distribution technology provider for music labels, today introduced an enhanced Internet music delivery platform.

The company said that the new platform provides greater licensing and co-branding capabilities for marketing and distributing music over the Internet, allowing record labels to have more control over how their music content is handled by users, as well as providing broader brand visibility to consumers.

By combining AT&T Lab's compression and encryption technologies, CD-quality music can be delivered more quickly and securely over the Internet, a2b said. Publishers will also be able to protect artist copyrights by restricting users from copying songs.

Using a three-minute track as an example, the company claims that the song can be compressed into 2.25 Mb, maintain CD-quality sound, and be downloaded over the Internet in about 10 minutes with a 28.8-Kbps modem, versus 21 minutes using competing technologies.

a2b music said its platform is an improvement over current digital music distribution technologies that embed licensing controls, or distribution keys, within music content files.

When a song is prepared for distribution on the a2b music platform, separate licenses are created for each download rather than mastering multiple files of the same song embedded with unique licenses, making it is easier to later change how the song is played and used, a2b said.

"We realize that many artists and publishers have serious concerns about how the Internet will affect how their music is used, and our new platform addresses these with the most flexible and secure licensing technology available," said Larry Miller, chief operating officer of a2b music.

"By empowering labels with absolute control over their content, we're enabling the music industry to better leverage the Internet as a secure distribution vehicle and an effective marketing tool."

Additionally, the company contends that marketing and co-branding is increased via the a2b music player software, which listeners download to desktops. Digital music can then be accessed, with the artist's cover art or the music label's logo featured during and between song playback. Click-through capabilities can be used so that consumers can go to the Web site of the artist or music label.

Music labels that employ the a2b music platform include Atlantic Records, BMG/RCA, Tower Records, N2K's Music Boulevard, Trans World Entertainment, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

Tower Records is currently using the new technology on the Tori Amos Web site, in a joint promotion with Atlantic Records.



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