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Music Giants Buy Into Listen.com

Listen.com Friday announced that BMG Entertainment, EMI Recorded Music, the Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group have invested an undisclosed amount in the downloadable music company.

Listen.com also disclosed that Maverick Records principals Guy Oseary and Ronnie Dashev have invested in the year-old San Francisco start-up.

"Having all five major labels as investors means that Listen.com is now clearly positioned as the platform for discovering digital music," said Listen.com founder and Chief Executive Officer Rob Reid. "These investments in Listen.com are also another significant sign that the entire music industry will be moving aggressively online this year."

Listen.com also announced deals with six leading independent labels: KOCH Entertainment, Mammoth Records, Ministry of Sound, Moonshine Music, TVT Records, and Ubiquity Records. The six companies join Artemis Records, BYO Records, Kill Rock Stars, Matador Records, Ng Records, Palm Pictures/Rykodisc, Platinum Records and Razor & Tie as Listen.com's independent label partners.

"BMG is focused on using the Internet to provide greater exposure for our artists and to create a digital connection between our artists and their fans. BMG's partnership with Listen.com reflects our desire to support those companies that are working to build a legitimate market for digitally delivered music. Listen.com provides music fans with easy access to legitimate digital downloads," said Kevin Conroy, BMG Entertainment's senior vice president of worldwide marketing and new technology.

"Listen.com cuts through all the clutter on the Web and gets fans closer to the music they love," said Jay Samit, EMI senior vice president for new media.

"Universal Music Group views our investment in Listen.com as another building block toward the widespread consumer adoption of digital distribution of music. We believe that Listen's commitment to the creation of a comprehensive guide to legitimate content - content that has been made available by the artist in the way she or he intended it to be made available -- is a valuable service for the many music consumers in the coming years that will adopt this new medium of distribution," said Larry Kenswil, president, Universal eLabs.

"Warner Music Group is pleased to partner with Listen.com," said Paul Vidich, executive vice president, strategic planning and business development for Warner Music Group. "It's a service that easily links consumers with the legitimate music that's broadly available on the net, and it provides us with another great promotional opportunity to connect our artists with their fans."

"The Internet offers huge opportunities for artists and labels to better connect with fans all over the world," said Guy Oseary of Maverick Records.

"I'm confident that Listen.com is going to be a company that plays a major role in this new music revolution."