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Business News (more headlines) 10-28-2003


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Email: ronan.mcnern@nelsonbostock.com
Website: http://www.bulldogdsl.com
Music ISP, PlayLouder and high-speed broadband specialist, Bulldog Communications launch first royalty paying music download site

· Creating model for other royalty-paying industries such as the written word and films

· Encouraging the introduction of other customer focused ISP e.g. football clubs, hobby groups, retailers and political groups for advantage

· Spam filter for all subscribers

· Providing high-speed music download

· Automatic authenticity of music files

· Targeted news, information and offers related to subscriber's music taste and chosen artists

· Tailored services including radio streaming, exclusive live event webcasts and a video jukebox

· All delivered over and using Bulldog's DSL technology products and services

Creating a model for future sector specific ISPs

PlayLouder, one of the UK’s leading digital music companies, has today unveiled a new venture, PlayLouder MSP, a world first, and a groundbreaking innovation which will have dramatic ramifications for the besieged record industry, suffering severely from illegal file-sharing.

PlayLouder MSP (Music Service Provider) is the world’s first ISP network to license from music companies the right for its subscribers to download and stream music from other subscribers. For a monthly subscription, PlayLouder MSP will provide a broadband internet connection bundled with high quality music services, whilst paying royalties to rights owners, songwriters and publishers allowing subscribers to freely exchange licensed music.

Previously internet users have been sharing music illegally using P2P applications such as KaZaA and the music industry has not received any revenues from this unlicensed activity. PlayLouder MSP has already secured backing and music from leading independent record labels XL Recordings, Beggars Group of labels, V2 Music, PIAS Recordings and Ninja Tune. Technical trials commence on 1 November and full commercial launch is scheduled for Q1 2004.

What makes PlayLouder MSP so exciting, is that for the first time, music fans can enjoy unlimited access to thousands of legal music files from artists like the White Stripes, Pixies, Cult, Interpol, Underworld, Stereophonics, Soulwax, Mr. Scruff, Elbow, Coldcut, Soulwax, Badly Drawn Boy, Laurent Garnier, Basement Jaxx and Mercury Music Prize winner Dizzee Rascal, with royalties being paid to the record companies for activity that previously was unlicensed and unlawful.

This unique approach will provide customers with exceptional broadband internet access for a price comparable to competitors while also providing access to music files that can be traded legally, with fellow subscribers of PlayLouder, using their favourite file-sharing application. PlayLouder MSP is set to revolutionise the way consumers and the music industry look at online music distribution.

The team behind PlayLouder MSP recognise that music fans love accessing music online and it’s here to stay. The support from rights owners is crucial, and early signs are good, with PlayLouder MSP already securing license agreements with MCPS-PRS, the licensing body that collects royalties on behalf of all music publishers, and with leading European independent record companies including XL Recordings, Beggars Group, V2 Music, PIAS Recordings and Ninja Tune. License discussions are on-going with the major record companies.

Bulldog Communications, the high-speed broadband specialist, has been selected as the broadband access partner for PlayLouder MSP. Bulldog, established in 2000, is one of the UK’s leaders in DSL technology products and services. Bulldog will enable PlayLouder MSP customers to access the internet and the MSP service using high speed DSL connections.

The PlayLouder ISP network will be technically configured to optimise the music and file-sharing experience. It will offer a super-fast connection within the network so that subscribers can download music from each other at speeds previously unheard of. Also, it will offer a guarantee of quality and authenticity by removing the 'spoofing', spam, and flooding which unlicensed file-sharing networks suffer. Only through PlayLouder’s partnership with the record companies is such a guarantee possible.

The mechanism that allows customers to check the authenticity of their music files will also provide access to targeted news, information and offers related to the music and artists they like. On top of its ISP function, PlayLouder will provide services tailored to music fans such as radio streaming, exclusive webcasts from high profile live events, and a video jukebox.

Paul Hitchman, director of PlayLouder MSP, said “PlayLouder MSP is a winner because it gives consumers everything they would expect from normal broadband access, plus the best possible access to music and a host of exclusive music services, at an all-in price directly competitive with other broadband suppliers. They will be getting music files of great quality and no longer running the risk of ‘spoofing’ or of being sued! At the same time we are the first ISP in the world to be working hand in hand with the music industry and paying royalties to artists.”

Paul Sanders, director of PlayLouder MSP and co-founder of state51, a world leader in internet technology innovation, added: “PlayLouder MSP subscribers will be licensed to download and stream music from other subscribers of the MSP. The service will be a ‘walled garden’ so that subscribers will be able to share files with each other but not outside the network. PlayLouder will work with record companies to seed the network with CD-quality music that is authenticated and free of viruses. We are confident that our MSP will have appeal to both the music fan and the rights owner.”

David Ferguson, Commercial Director of Bulldog Communications, said: “Bulldog is delivering massive growth in demand for high speed internet access and service delivery and we're dedicated to supporting and developing innovative broadband applications. PlayLouder MSP is a great example of this and we're delighted to see the music industry embracing broadband in this way. I'm sure that it's only the beginning.”

More on Bulldog Communications Ltd.

Bulldog has a leading-edge DSL network specifically designed to deliver the highest quality broadband experience to direct residential customers, and value-added broadband solutions for wholesale and reseller partners. Bulldog is a DSL specialist; the company provides specialist technology expertise to its partners and customers.

Deploying the latest and most advanced DSL technology, Bulldog offers the broadest selection of DSL products and services commercially available in the market today and is continually expanding its state-of-the art network.

Customers can visit Bulldog’s website www.bulldogdsl.com to order products and services online that are available today, and pre-register for others coming soon. For enquiries by phone, please call 0845 452 0052 (local rate).

Quotes from Industry Leaders

Michel Lambot, co-Chairman of PIAS Recordings:
“PlayLouder MSP could well represent the perfect compromise the fans and the copyright owners always wanted to see: the ease of file sharing and a stream of royalties enabling Artists to pay for their living and Record Companies to continue to invest in new recordings.”

Martin Mills, Chairman of Beggars Group:

“We are committed to working with the most innovative new media companies to open up new distribution channels and new revenue sources for music. The PlayLouder MSP finally offers record companies a way to monetise file-sharing and represents a potential solution for the record industry.”

Peter Quicke, MD of Ninja Tune:
"The music world is changing and the way people want their music is changing so it is increasingly important for musicians and record labels to find new ways to supply music and interest people in our ace tunes! PlayLouder MSP is a brilliant new solution."

Beth Appleton, New Media and Business Development Manager for V2 Music:
“It is critical that the music industry continues to embrace digital music distribution possibilities and provide services for music fans to access quality digital music in a legal environment. The continued growth and development of this area is very exciting and we are very pleased to be working with PlayLouder MSP.”

Sandra Cox, Executive Director, MCPS:
"PlayLouder are long-standing MCPS licensees and we're are happy to support them in their continuing efforts to develop legitimate online markets for our member's music. The fact that we've licensed the trial of PlayLouder's fresh and innovative service is yet another endorsement for the MCPS-PRS Alliance's pragmatic and flexible approach to licensing in the online environment and we look forward to working with them to ensure the continued licensing of their commercial ISP offering."

John Axon, Executive Director, PRS:
"The PRS are committed to ensuring that appropriate online licensing is available to, and utilised by, UK-based music service providers. The decision of PRS to combine with MCPS in issuing one licence for online music use has allowed companies like PlayLouder to take advantage of a 'one-stop shop' for all the performing and mechanical rights to the musical works they require for the trial of their ISP service. We're pleased that PRS members will be properly remunerated for the use of their music in what we hope will be a very successful service."

Editors note:
MCPS is the UK society that administers the mechanical right in the musical works of composers, songwriters and music publishers as an agent. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Music Publishers Association – and currently has around 16,000 members.

PRS is the UK society that administers the performing right in the musical works of composers, songwriters and music publishers. It currently has around 38,000 members.

The MCPS-PRS Alliance
Whilst MCPS and PRS remain separate societies, in terms of income, constitution, membership and guardianship of different rights, they are now working together as an operational alliance, The MCPS-PRS Alliance.

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