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Bertelsmann takes another step

RioPort hooks BMG for mobile music service

Digital music subscription company RioPort, connected to the famous Rio MP3 digital music player, has landed major record label BMG for its yet-to-be-launched PulseOne service, which will allow users to access music via portable and other devices on a subscription basis.

BMG, the global music division of German media giant Bertelsmann, has granted a license allowing PulseOne to distribute music from BMG's recording artists, who include such names as Christina Aguilera, Toni Braxton, David Gray and Pink, Rioport said.

This is obviously one end result of Bertelsmann's recent intense interest in online music provision and partnering with Napster.

Some 22,000 BMG songs will be available at launch, with others to be added over time, RioPort said.

PulseOne will allow playback of subscription music downloads on devices such as portable players, music phones, digital stereos and set-top boxes. The service is slated for launch late in the first quarter of 2002, RioPort said, adding that it expects to announce deals with other major recording companies soon.

BMG has already granted similar licenses to RioPort competitors such as MusicNet in the US and On Demand Distribution in the UK, said BMG spokesman Nathaniel Brown. BMG's parent company Bertelsmann is one of the major labels co-operating with RealNetworks to develop MusicNet.

Bertelsmann is an investor in Napster, which is currently beta-testing a new subscription-based music download service, but Brown would not comment on whether BMG plans to license its music to Napster.


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