BMG To Syndicate Music Videos Online

BMG Entertainment, a division of Bertelsmann AG, announced Thursday it has partnered with content delivery service provider Akamai Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: AKAM) and Virage, Inc. (Nasdaq: VRGE) to offer music videos for online syndication via streaming media.

BMG spokesperson Nathaniel Brown told the E-Commerce Times that BMG is working on putting together a network of syndication partners and that those partners will be revealed in a “subsequent announcement.”

Brown declined to reveal the financial details of any syndication arrangements, but did say that the costs will be scalable.

Videos For Hire

A report released last month by U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray predicted that streaming media will drive the next wave of Internet growth and that total spending will grow from US$9.7 billion in 1999 to $21.6 billion in 2004.

BMG said that it initially intends to make more than 1,000 music videos available for syndication later this year and that these videos will be “widely accessible to a virtually unlimited number of end users worldwide.”

The company also said it will expand the number of videos available for syndication after launch to include a “substantial portion” of its video collection.

Tools of the Trade

BMG plans to utilize Microsoft-backed Akamai’s FreeFlow Streaming service and scalable network of servers, and rely on San Mateo, California-based Virage to provide encryption, syndication management software and application hosting.

“Given the proper syndication management tools, streaming media can enable real business opportunities for content providers,” Virage chairman and chief executive officer Paul Lego said.

From Downloading to Streaming

BMG and parent company Bertelsmann AG made news in October when they agreed to create a subscription-based music downloading service with file-swapping site Napster.

The deal marked a turning point in the relationship between music industry heavyweights and rogue downloading sites. On Wednesday, a day after settling with Universal Music Group over a copyright infringement lawsuit, online music service MP3.com announced it will relaunch with a subscription-based format later this month.

Excite and MTVi Partner

In other online music news, broadband service provider Excite@Home and The MTVi Group, an online music entertainment company, announced Wednesday that they have launched an online music entertainment service, Excite Music.

Visitors to Excite Music will be able to research artists, watch video clips and get the latest music news and reviews. Content will come from MTV.com, VH1.com and Sonicnet.com.

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