HITS Daily Double
"MP3.com's online reach will help promote Warner Music artists in the coming years."
—--Paul Vidich, Warner Music Group


Non-Exclusive Marketing/Promotion Deal And Video License Agreement Follow On Heels Of Emusic.com Lawsuit
MP3.com and Warner Music Group have sealed a three-year, non-exclusive marketing and promotion deal for WMG music, as well as a two-year licensing deal for WMG video.

While the use of WMG materials in the online music service provider's My.MP3.com service was authorized by a previous court settlement (see below), the new agreements enable MP3.com to feature Warner artists on its main site, offer dedicated artist pages and send out e-mail alerts when new music or video is made available.

"MP3.com's online reach will help promote Warner Music artists in the coming years," said Paul Vidich, executive vice president, strategic planning and business development for Warner Music Group. "We're pleased to be working with MP3.com and we look forward to offering our artists and labels MP3.com's unique distribution capability and technological infrastructure. Best of all, this proves that I do something other than sit hunched over my PlayStation2 all day—though I love that thing more than life itself, God help me."

WMG is the first label group to sign such an agreement with the netco since the majors' copyright-infringement lawsuit ended last month with Universal Music Group being awarded $53.4 million. Warner settled its portion of the suit in June for $20 million. Although the label groups that settled earlier were guaranteed "Most Favored Nation" upgrades to the highest settlement number, UMG and MP3.com were at pains to label the amount of the final award a "judgment" to avoid this. The majors dutifully returned to court to address this difference.

"MP3.com is thrilled to be able to feature selected songs and videos from many of Warner Music's top artists," reads a software-generated quote attributed to the netco's President/COO, Robin Richards. "Both of these agreements will prove valuable to Warner Music artists and the more than 11 million registered users of MP3.com. In your face, Bob Kohn!"

Speaking of Kohn, the Netrepreneur's own MSP, EMusic.com, announced on Tuesday (12/19) that it, along with several of its independent record label partners, had filed a copyright infringement complaint against MP3.com and its My.MP3.com streaming service. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, where MP3.com has a regular table in the cafeteria.

“Although MP3.com has entered into settlement agreements with the five major record labels, they have chosen to ignore their infringing actions with respect to independent record labels,” said EMusic President and CEO Gene Hoffman. “EMusic strongly supports the rights of music fans to have access to have access to convenient, inexpensive digital music—as well as the rights of all labels and artists to choose how and where their music is used.”

EMusic has thus far been unable to determine exactly how many of the approximately 13,000 albums from over 600 record labels have been infringed upon by the My.MP3.com service. But they're sure it must be a lot.

The complaint was initially filed by EMusic and partner labels Fearless Records, Fuel 2000 Records, Gig Records, Invisible Records, SpinART Records and Victory Records. The company expects more partner labels to join the complaint as the suit progresses.