RealTime IT News

Loudeye Scores with Napster Deal

Loudeye Technologies Inc. was roaring on Wall Street today, up 70 percent at one point, after it was selected to provide digital "fingerprints" and related descriptive data to file-sharing network Napster for use in its planned membership service, scheduled to launch this summer.

Seattle-based Loudeye stock was up 85 cents to $2.06 in mid-morning trading. The company has been on a roll; just last week it inked a multi-year deal with AOL Time Warner to provide music samples, music catalog encoding and metadata services across certain AOL properties including AOL Music's Spinner.com, the Internet radio service.

In today's deal (financial specifics were not disclosed), Loudeye said its service offering will support Napster's compliance efforts to filter copyrighted content from its current service.

Loudeye will generate unique digital signatures, or fingerprints, for a music catalog representing more than two million tracks.

Loudeye said it is providing this service by combining its catalog with new releases as part of its ongoing licensing relationships with the five major music companies and several hundred independent labels. By integrating the descriptive metadata licensed from Loudeye, these fingerprints will allow Napster to verify the identity of files shared on its network.

"The Napster agreement demonstrates the power and scalability of Loudeye's digital music infrastructure and service capabilities," said John T. Baker, Loudeye chief executive officer.

"Loudeye's contribution is key to enabling Napster to create a membership-based file-sharing experience," said Napster CEO Hank Barry. "Loudeye's fingerprints and metadata will ultimately help us track millions of unique music files on our service, so we can fulfill our commitment to compensate artists, songwriters, music publishers and record companies."

Redwood City, Calif.-based Napster on Tuesday joined Seattle-based MusicNet, the recording industry's new music download platform, as an official affiliate. Napster is still dealing with lawsuits filed by major music and various music and audio content providers for copyright infringement.