Music Industry News Network [01-13-2004]

Smithsonian Folkways Turns To Peppercoin For Micropayments


Smithsonian Folkways Chooses Peppercoin for Online Music Payments

Collection of 33,000 American Folk and World Songs Available for Purchase for 99 Cents

WALTHAM, Mass. ­ January 12, 2004 ­ Peppercoin, a micropayments company that enables profitable new business models for low-priced digital content and physical goods, today announced that Smithsonian Folkways Recordings has selected the Peppercoin Payment System to power its online music initiative. Smithsonian will make its entire collection of 33,000 American folk and world songs from artists such as Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, Brownie McGhee, Pete Seeger and Ella Jenkins available online to consumers for 99 cents.

“For more than a decade, Smithsonian Folkways has offered a unique song library that celebrates the heritage of our nation and the world. Peppercoin’s technology reduces our cost of doing business and provides the best way to make our historic collection available to consumers on a track-by-track basis,” said Richard Burgess, director of marketing for Smithsonian Folkways. “We can reach out to a broader audience, connecting them to a rich heritage of recorded sound.”

Peppercoin’s micropayment system is the first that allows merchants to offer new content profitably with a consumer-friendly, pay-as-you-go approach that eliminates prepayments. In CY2002, Smithsonian Folkways grew 36 percent selling 300,000 units and generating more than $4 million in sales. Smithsonian Folkways began digitizing its music library, which spans more than 50 years, in January and will launch the new service on April 1, 2004. The non-profit record label also plans to offer music online from Africa, India and other world regions by the end of 2004.

“Peppercoin is enabling a dramatic change in the way music reaches consumers,” said Robert Kiburz, president and CEO of Peppercoin. “Music lovers will be able to access Smithsonian Folkways online to purchase rare and hard to find tracks as readily as they would top ten hits.”

Peppercoin integrates easily with transaction systems and complements existing business models to accelerate merchant revenues and increase profits while reducing transaction costs dramatically. Peppercoin’s service makes it easy for consumers to buy only the content they want, when they want it, while dramatically reducing merchant transaction fees.

The consumer demand for low-cost content is significant. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos-Insight found that more than four million Americans have purchased digital content for less than $2 in the past year. Additionally, a projected 30 million Americans are at least somewhat likely to purchase content online for less than $2 in the next twelve months. One of the main factors needed to drive that growth is the rise in pay-as-you-go purchasing like Peppercoin is providing for Smithsonian.

About Smithsonian Folkways Recordings
Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is the non-profit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States. A division of the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings supports traditional artists and their music, cultural diversity, education, and increased understanding among people. “Connecting People Through Music.”

About Peppercoin, Inc.

Peppercoin is a micropayments company that enables profitable new business models for low-priced digital content and physical goods. Only Peppercoin helps merchants build market adoption quickly through a consumer-friendly, pay-as-you-go approach that eliminates prepayments. Peppercoin integrates easily with existing business models and systems to accelerate revenues and increase profits while dramatically lowering transaction costs. For more information visit

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