ALL FIVE MAJOR LABELS INVEST IN LISTEN.COM
BMG, EMI, Universal, and Warner Music Group are new investors
Listen.com also signs deals with six keyindependent labels
February 4, 2000 (SAN FRANCISCO) – For the first time, all five major record labels have invested in the same Internet company. Listen.com, the comprehensive directory of downloadable music, announced today that BMG Entertainment, EMI Recorded Music, the Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group have invested in the company. Listen.com also disclosed that Maverick Records principals Guy Oseary and Ronnie Dashev have invested in the year-old San Francisco start up.
Terms of the investments were not released. Sony Music invested in Listen.com last October.
“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 CEO 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 today: KOCH Entertainment, Mammoth Records, Ministry of Sound, Moonshine Music, TVT Records, and Ubiquity Records. Listen.com now has deals with 14 independent labels.
50,000 artists from 400 sites
Listen.com has staked out a unique position in the online music market. The company makes it easy for consumers to find and discover music on the Web by providing the only comprehensive directory to legal digital music. With the largest full-time staff of music writers anywhere, Listen.com currently has more than 50,000 reviewed and categorized artists in its directory and points to 400 Web sites that host music downloads.
Listen.com has made deals with nearly every major music download site, including MP3.com, Emusic and Liquid Audio, and is powering music download searches on several high-traffic sites via syndication deals, including Excite, Lycos, RealNetworks, Shockwave.com, Snap.com, Sony and ZDNet.
Labels & Guy Oseary on Listen.com
“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, senior vice president, Worldwide Marketing and New Technology, BMG Entertainment.
“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, andit 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.”
More Indie Labels Working with Listen.comIn addition to working with the major labels, a Listen.com priority is to continue to forge new relationships with independent music labels. Today’s announced deals with KOCH Entertainment, Mammoth Records, Ministry of Sound, Moonshine Music, TVT Records, and Ubiquity Records are designed to increase exposure for the labels’ artists on the Internet. 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.
These deals establish working relationships between the labels and Listen.com to ensure that the labels’ artists with music on the Internet get quick and accurate listings in Listen.com’s download directory. The agreements also open the door to joint promotional activities between the labels and Listen.com.
“Independent labels have led the charge for bringing diverse, quality downloadable music online,” said Listen.com’s Rob Reid. “Listen.com will continue to strengthen our relationship with the independent music community. Our goal is to help consumers find the best music, whether it’s from a major label, an independent or an unsigned band. If it’s out there, we’ll help you find it.”
Listen.com’s other Investors
Listen.com’s other investors include the Barksdale Group, August Capital, Hambrecht & Quist, Austin Ventures, Altos Ventures, Imagine Media founder and CEO, Chris Anderson, CNET founder and CEO Halsey Minor and Gateway Computers founder and chairman Ted Waitt.
Listen.com is the Internet’s comprehensive directory of downloadable music. The directory includes original reviews and categorization of more than 50,000 artists and links to their legally posted work on 400 Web sites. Listen.com’s download directory is syndicated to AOL’s Spinner and Winamp, Excite@Home, Lycos, MusicMatch, RealNetworks, shockwave.com, Snap.com, Sony and ZDNet.
Robert Reid, a former venture capitalist and author of “Architects of the Web” founded Listen.com in December 1998. Financial backers include the Barksdale Group, August Capital, Hambrecht & Quist, Austin Ventures, Altos Ventures, BMG Entertainment, EMI Recorded Music, Sony Music, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Imagine Media founder and CEO, Chris Anderson, CNET founder and CEO Halsey Minor, Gateway Computers founder and chairman Ted Waitt, and Maverick Records principals Guy Oseary and Ronnie Dashev. Listen.com has 110 employees and is based in San Francisco’s “Audio Alley.” Listen.com and the Listen.com logo are service marks of Listen.com, Inc.
About BMG Entertainment
BMG Entertainment (www.bmg.com) is the $4.6 billionworldwide music and entertainment division of BertelsmannAG, one of the world’s leading media companies, withannual revenues of $15 billion. BMG owns more than 200record labels in 53 countries, including Arista Records, RCARecords and Ariola Music. BMG has significant onlineinterests, including a popular online music community calledGetMusic (www.getmusic.com) which is a joint venture withUniversal Music Group. BMG also owns the world’s largestmusic club, one of the world’s largest music publishingcompanies, and also has interested in television, andcompact disc and cassette manufacturing.
About EMI Recorded Music
EMI Recorded Music, the third largest music company in the world, is an international music company with operations in more than 50 countries. EMI Recorded Music includes important local and international artists, including some of the biggest names in the recorded music industry.
EMI has artists in every leading music genre, including pop, rock, jazz, classical, Latin, Christian, country, rap/urban and dance. The world famous labels include Capitol, Angel, Blue Note, EMI, Priority and Virgin. Its current roster includes approximately 1,500 artists who typically release more than 1,200 albums each year; last year EMI had 27 releases that sold in excess of one million units. EMI Music Publishing is the world’s largest music publisher.
About Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group is home to some of the world’s leading record companies, including The Atlantic Group, Elektra Entertainment Group, Rhino Entertainment, Sire Records Group and Warner Bros. Records, Inc. The company’s Warner Music International, with a roster of more than 1,000 artists, operates in 65 countries through a network of 47 affiliates, 24 licensees and seven associated labels. Warner Music Group also includes one of the world’s leading music publishers, Warner/Chappell and WEA Inc., which is comprised of three companies, WEA Corp., WEA Manufacturing, and Ivy Hill. Warner Music Group is a division of Time Warner Inc.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 59 countries around the world. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry’s largest global music publishing operations.
Universal Music Group consists of record labels A&M Records, Decca Record Company, Deutsche Grammophon, Geffen Records, Interscope Records, Island Def Jam Music Group, Jimmy and Doug’s Farmclub.com, MCA Nashville, MCA Records, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Philips, Polydor, Universal Records, and Verve Music Group as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalog of music in the industry which is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and UM3 (outside the U.S.).
Universal Music Group is a unit of The Seagram Company Ltd., a global entertainment and spirits and wine company.