RealTime IT News

Loudeye Scores Again

Scoring its third big deal in as many weeks, Seattle-based Loudeye Technologies Inc. signed an agreement to provide music samples for the MSN network.

And once again, Loudeye's stock leaped on the news, climbing 24 cents in mid morning trading to $1.75. At one point earlier in the trading session, it was going for $2.20 a share after closing yesterday at $1.51.

Financial terms of the MSN deal were not disclosed, but Loudeye said that the music samples will be integrated into the MSN Music Web site, which allows consumers to search for, listen to and discover music from thousands of online stations.

The move capitalizes on Loudeye's relationships with all five major record labels and over 800 independent labels. MSN Music will get to add more than 100,000 song samples, including new releases, to its music destination sites.

Last week, Loudeye 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.

The week before the company 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.

MSN said it will deploy Loudeye Sample Services for a turnkey music samples infrastructure that will support its efforts to attract new visitors and stimulate the sale of CDs to MSN eShop merchants. The song samples not only help consumers discover new music but will include a "buy" button to simplify CD purchases.

"Adding Loudeye's music samples will enhance MSN efforts to heighten the consumer experience and facilitate point-of-sale CD purchases," said Larry Hyrb, editor in chief of MSN Music at Microsoft.

Loudeye was founded in 1997 as an encoding company to help customers (mainly media companies) transform their analog content into digital. But as the media companies demanded greater infrastructure services to deliver digital content, Loudeye branched out into ASP businesses.

The company shored up the agreements necessary with the likes of BMG Music, EMI, Sony, and Universal Music Group and began supplying the record labels' music samples to a slew of customers like Amazon, Barnsandnoble.com, CNN, etc. To complement the music sampling business, Loudeye also bought the assets of OnAir Streaming Networks, a developer of online radio applications, and earlier this year acquired DiscoverMusic, a sample provider that also had an arsenal of album cover art and data to support online music retailers.

In April, the company announced plans to concentrate on its business of providing infrastructure technology to enable delivery of digital music.