EMI Takes Musicmaker.com Stake

EMI Music Group PLC has taken a 50 percent stake in Musicmaker.com, a site that offers custom disks as well as free digital music downloads.

Musicmaker.com also received an exclusive five-year license to EMI’s music catalog. No financial terms of the deal, announced late Thursday, were disclosed.

Musicmaker allows consumers to create custom compact disks by choosing from a catalog of thousands of songs. EMI is the first major label to sign with the company, which until now has mainly featured older music and selections from smaller labels.

The site also features MP3 downloads. Its MP3 files contain watermarks to guard against illegal copying.

The company in April shelved plans for an initial public offering, saying it was in licensing talks with a major music entertainment company. Musicmaker was planning to sell a 42 percent stake to the public.

The move is the latest in a series by larger music labels, who were relatively late to embrace the spread of online music. AT&T Corp., Universal, BMG Entertainment and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. have all announced Internet music plans. Universal and BMG recently formed GetMusic, an online site that will sell compact disks.

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