Web Media Technologies Attract Corporate Interest

By Paul Moffett

With the continued growth of music sales on the Internet, major corporations are maneuvering to get a position in the business. Several recent agreements the field have been announced and have generated considerable interest.

Microsoft has Microsoft Media Technologies 4.0, which is designed to work with digital music downloads, and offers copy protection to prevent unauthorized duplication. The company could, of course, add the software to future releases of Windows, giving them considerable advantage.

The Ultimate Band List is the first companies to put the new Microsoft technology to use. The UBL is integrating On Demand Producer with the Windows Media Technologies 4.0 Active Streaming Format (ASF) to create a database of audio files that are one-half the size of a comparable MP3 file. On Demand Producer is now allowing band-authorized postings of ASF audio files.

IBM Corporation has announced a deal with RealNetworks to create their own system for digital commerce, which is crucial to selling music over the Web. For some time IBM has been working on a system, code-named "The Madison Project," and which it says to be combined with RealNetworks system.

Meanwhile RealNetworks has entered into an agreement to acquire a leading developer of MP3 audio compression software, Xing Technology Corp., via an exchange of common stork.