Musicbank Signs 'Big 5'

Musicbank, an online streaming music "locker" service, secured a license from music group EMI on Wednesday that makes it the second locker service to gain access to the catalogs of all five of the major recording groups.

The deal calls for EMI to license its catalog, which includes artists such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, as well as the jazz label Blue Note, to the soon-to-be-launched Musicbank site, which will allow users to stream their music collections on any Web-enabled computer. Those users will, however, be required to demonstrate first that they own the CDs.

Musicbank, which is scheduled to debut in the next week, is expected to be similar to the service that first brought on the wrath of the five major labels, known as the "Big Five." subsequently secured rights from all five major players and its locker service is now up and running.

Musicbank began beta testing its site during the Thanksgiving holiday. It then took the site down and is testing the locker service with its employees. In July, Musicbank struck a deal with retail giant Virgin Megastores that allows Virgin customers the option of making CD purchases either at brick-and-mortar stores or online through an automatic transaction on their Musicbank accounts. has a similar arrangement with Tower Records.

Like three of the other major labels, EMI took a small equity stake in Musicbank when it forged the licensing agreement. Only Sony declined to take a stake in the San Francisco-based company, perhaps because an arm of Sony is developing Unsurface, an online music service with a locker component.

Courtesy The Industry Standard

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