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Business News (more headlines) 10-31-2003

Kazaa Puts The Spotlight On Emerging Artists

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Sharman Networks, publishers and distributors of Kazaa, today launched the Kazaa "Emerging Artists Channel," an initiative that enables emerging artists to promote and sell music using peer-to-peer technology. This new feature of Kazaa demonstrates the power and flexibility of peer-to-peer technology as a universal commercial platform for promoting and selling music, especially for independent musicians.

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Developed in partnership with Altnet Inc, the leading provider of secure digital media via peer-to-peer technology, and Cornerband.com, a self-service online label for musicians, the Emerging Artists Channel provides a new music 'incubator' within Kazaa, allowing independent artists around the world to promote and sell their music directly to an estimated 60 million music lovers worldwide.

From just US$9.99 a month per track, plus a one time set up fee of US$49.95, artists can have their songs promoted in two ways: First, the songs are given preferred placement in Kazaa search results with a 'Gold' colored icon using Altnet's TopSearch service. Second, songs have a listing featured in the Emerging Artist Channel. Altnet also digitally secures each song and allows artists to control the distribution rules of their music, for example, as a paid download, try-before-you-buy, or free sample. Each time a 'Gold Icon' file is shared via Kazaa, each new user must agree to the license before gaining access to its content.

The Emerging Artists Channel showcases the latest and greatest independent music from around the world. Music fans can download songs, share and build playlists, vote in a "best bands" competition, and listen to a free streaming radio player. Popular songs appear in a "Top 100" style hit list, ranked according to their popularity with Kazaa users.

"More than 75 million songs from over 1,000 emerging artists have been downloaded by Kazaa users in the past 12 months through services provided by Altnet and Cornerband," said Nikki Hemming, CEO of Sharman Networks. "The Emerging Artist Channel recognizes the increasing demand for these services that make it even easier for a new generation of bands to take advantage of low cost promotion and for music lovers to discover great new music. Every great band and musician has to start somewhere, and this is a fantastic new way to be discovered."

Illustrating the power of peer-to-peer promotion, San Francisco based band, Ten Mile Tide, has promoted its music through file-sharing on Kazaa for the past 12 months. The band has seen its songs downloaded more than 8.6 million times and online CD sales double, making the dream of being able to quit their day jobs come true.

According to Scott Beck, CEO of Cornerband, "The concept behind the Emerging Artists Channel is to provide a low cost stepping-stone for growth into the mainstream market -- it's not much to pay for such great exposure. Once a band becomes more established, they can move to more prominent and higher trafficked promotional areas within Kazaa."

Altnet Senior Vice-President Christian von Burkleo said: "It's the new radio, a perfect win-win for independent musicians and music lovers. Independent musicians get a low-cost way to promote their music to a massive audience and Kazaa users get to discover great new music."

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