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MP3.com Subscriptions Blossom, New Division Formed

MP3.com Inc. Tuesday reported strong international demand for its new on-demand music subscription system.

"We expected healthy traffic domestically, but what really surprised us was the international demand," said Chris Montgomery, vice president of channel development at MP3.com and head of the company's new Subscription Division. "Using our existing caching technology, a global audience is getting a quality listening experience."

Subscribers to MP3.com's Classical Music Channel reside in the United States, Canada, Australia, Japan, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Korea, Ireland, Spain, Finland, Hong Kong, and others.

Following a 14-day, risk-free listening offer, the Classical Music Channel's monthly fee of $9.99 includes unlimited streaming access to thousands of tracks, 100% downloadable, from the collection. Included are renowned artists like Luciano Pavarotti, The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and Alicia de Larrocha. MP3.com says new CD releases will be featured every month, with subscribers receiving a 50% discount on all Classical Music Channel CDs.

MP3.com's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Michael Robertson, said the company leveraged massive database, storage, personalization, accounting and delivery infrastructure built over the past two years to make the rollout of the subscription system possible. The company also formed a new MP3.com Subscription Division dedicated to delivering the technology and also developed economic relationships with content providers to build additional channel choices.

The Classical Music Channel is the first of many proposed on-demand subscription channels for MP3.com. Other channels slated for release include alternative, jazz, children's, urban, world and more.

The MP3.com subscription service offers flexible content management and administration tools. Content providers can access daily auditing and usage statistics such as subscriber reports, artist's page views, and the number of song plays for precise royalty reconciliation. Other features include a "just-in-time" CD manufacturing process that allows content providers to create and sell CDs online.

Montgomery added that subscription channels are a way for music, video and spoken word producers to transform idle back catalogs into highly profitable, recurring revenue streams. He said that MP3.com offers built-in security features, encoding, storage, caching and Web maintenance, meaning no technical expertise is required.