PRESSPLAY TO BE OFFICIAL NAME FOR NEW SUBSCRIPTION MUSIC SERVICE CREATED BY SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT AND UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP
Andy Schuon Named President and Chief Executive Officer; Michael Bebel Named Chief Operating Officer
Company Was Formerly Known By The Working Title of Duet
New York, New York, June 11, 2001 — Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group today announced the official name for their on-demand music subscription service: pressplay. The joint venture was formerly referred to by the working title “Duet.” In addition, it was announced that Andy Schuon has been named President and Chief Executive Officer, and that Michael Bebel has been named Chief Operating Officer. Pressplay is slated to launch in the U.S. by late summer 2001.
As head of the company, Mr. Schuon will oversee all aspects of pressplay’s operations, including the launch of the online subscription service, the management of its technical operations and the overall branding and development of the service. Mr. Bebel will be responsible for overseeing the business affairs, finance, and day-to-day operations of the company as well as lead its technology implementation. Press Play will have offices in New York and Los Angeles.
“It is a true pleasure to announce these two key players in the pressplay team,” commented Thomas D. Mottola, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music Entertainment. “We have followed Andy Schuon’s career for many years, and have long admired his enormous creative talent in the areas of programming and brand development. Throughout his career, Andy has proven time and time again that he understands how to take a concept and turn it into a cultural touchstone. Mike Bebel brings to the table enormous technical experience and a broad-based knowledge of digital music distribution. The combined talents of these two, well-respected executives will provide pressplay with the leadership, direction and creative resources it needs to succeed in the marketplace.”
“Andy and Mike are both extremely talented executives, and we are pleased that they will be steering pressplay,” said Doug Morris, Chairman and CEO, Universal Music Group. “Andy is a tremendously creative individual who, in a very short time, built Farmclub.com into one of the premier online music sites and pioneered new ground in the area of multimedia convergence. Having worked with both Andy and Mike in their respective positions at UMG, it is clear that they make up a great team, melding vision and business acumen.”
“pressplay will introduce a new way for people to interact with the music they love,” commented Mr. Schuon. “I am excited to be at the helm of a company on the leading edge of music, and I believe that the team Mike Bebel and I are putting together will bring a compelling service to consumers.”
“I’m delighted to be working with Andy to create pressplay,” commented Mr. Bebel. “We already have the support of two of the world’s largest music companies and Yahoo!, and we hope to get as many music companies and online affiliate partners on board as possible by the time we launch.”
pressplay is a subscription music service that will offer consumers the opportunity to download and stream songs on-demand. pressplay expects to be able to add portability options following the initial launch. The service, which will feature a secure delivery system designed to respect artists’ rights, will provide online consumers with fast and efficient access to a vast catalogue of music.
Among many other features, pressplay will provide music enthusiasts with the ability to compile personalized play lists and to share them with other pressplay members. The service, which will be available in the U.S. through a broad array of affiliates, announced its first affiliate relationship in April of this year, joining together with Yahoo! Inc. to form an alliance through which the pressplay service will be marketed to users of Yahoo! network and Yahoo! Music.
Prior to joining pressplay, Mr. Schuon was President and Chief Operating Officer of Jimmy and Doug’s Farmclub.com where he was responsible for overseeing all aspects of the company’s record label operations, online activities and television programming since its launch in January 2000. Previously, Mr. Schuon was Executive Vice President and General Manager of Warner Brothers Records, with responsibility for all creative and administrative issues including promotion, marketing, artist relations, advertising, art, sales and production.
Before his post at Warner Brothers, Mr. Schuon spent several years at MTV: Music Television, culminating in his title as Executive Vice President of Programming. Mr. Schuon is credited with engineering the station’s evolution from “video jukebox” to a fully realized “youth culture” network. He was the executive producer of the MTV Video Music Awards and the MTV Movie Awards, and created and developed such programming as “Alternative Nation,” “MTV Live (now TRL),” “MTV Jams,” and “The MTV Beach House.” Mr. Schuon also served as Executive Vice President of Programming at VH-1 where he supervised the channel’s successful re-launch.
Prior to his appointment at pressplay, Mr. Bebel held the position of Executive Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Planning for Universal Music Group’s eLabs since 1998. In this capacity, he was responsible for the development of electronic
Prior to his appointment at pressplay, Mr. Bebel held the position of Executive Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Planning for Universal Music Group’s eLabs since 1998. In this capacity, he was responsible for the development of electronic commerce enterprises and new technology business opportunities on a worldwide basis as well as for participating in the development and updating of eLabs strategic planning.
During his tenure, he led UMG’s strategic investments in companies such as Clickradio, DataPlay and Listen.com, as well as spearheaded the GetMusic initiative and sat on the joint venture’s board.
Mr. Bebel first joined Universal Studios Inc. in January of 1996 from the Seagram Beverage Company. He holds an MBA in Finance and Economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton.
pressplay is a stand-alone joint venture equally between held by Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group. Based in New York City, the company is developing a new consumer offering, a subscription-based service that will include various music offerings via the Internet. The initial service is expected to launch in the U.S. during the summer of 2001. Universal, Sony and other music companies will separately provide their music to pressplay on a non-exclusive basis and pressplay will provide its services to a broad range of affiliates.
About Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment (SME), a leading global producer, manufacturer, and marketer of recorded music and video, has a presence in 60 countries. In 1994, SME launched www.sonymusic.com, which links to 20 Sony Music affiliate sites worldwide in addition to licensing and business-to-business sites. Reflecting its strategy for the broadband era, SME was the first major music company (in tandem with retail partners) to establish commercial download of singles, and has numerous investments in the digital media infrastructure, technology, wireless, service and digital content areas.
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the world’s leading music company with wholly-owned record operations or licensees in 63 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 Vivendi Universal, a global media and communications company.