MusicMatch Updates Jukebox

SAN FRANCISCO (03/07/2000) - The MusicMatch Jukebox helps you organize your digital music collection and find out more about the music you like (or might).

MusicMatch Inc. released Monday MusicMatch Jukebox 5.0. This release adds integrated CD burning, a community-based matching engine, and access to online album information. A free version offers unlimited MP3 recording at 96 kbps, while the $29.99 version supports unlimited recording at up to 320 kbps, or CD quality. The paid version also provides tools that help you create your own liner notes and CD covers.

MusicMatch was the first all-in-one jukebox, and now claims 5.2 million customers, says Bob Ohlweiler, vice president of marketing at MusicMatch.

The Jukebox Showdown

MusicMatch 5.0 is comparable to RealNetworks RealJukebox. Both let you download and store MP3s recorded at 96kbps (in their free versions), burn standard CDs, or transfer music to portable players like Creative Nomad, Diamond Rio, and RCA Lyra. MusicMatch's free version goes further with a radio tuner, support for Microsoft's Windows Media Audio files, and the capability to create CDs.

Like RealJukebox, MusicMatch lets you arrange music by genre, artist, or your own playlists. MusicMatch also has a personal tagging system that lets you create more specific playlists. For example, you can add an exercise tag to your peppiest music, then burn a CD or transfer the playlist to a portable music player and you're ready to hit the treadmill.

"Unlike RealJukebox, WinAmp, or Sony's Open MagicGate jukebox, MusicMatch built its user interface around the playlist," Ohlweiler says. A new feature pulls album art, artist pages, and links to buy CDs from the Web whenever you play a song from your playlists.

Music Lovers' Exchange

MusicMatch offers many community features, if you share your listening habits.

The service will offer recommendations and top-songs listings based on what other people are choosing.

Using the 1.5 million uploaded listening logs it has collected, MusicMatch created an algorithm that matches people to a type of music.

"The recommendations are based on the subtleties of what you listen to versus what other people do across multiple genres," Ohlweiler says.

Basically, MusicMatch has an "if you like this, try this" service called Best Matches. Click on any of the ten artists and 25 albums recommended and you'll get reviews, streamed clips, or links to purchase sites. You can also see album art and artist discographies.

Still, capturing the full eclectic taste of music listeners is an imperfect calculation. If you play a song by the Beastie Boys, you probably won't get a recommendation for Beethoven, even if Ludwig is exactly what you'd like best.

MusicMatch also personalizes its service with the MusicMatch Guide, a listing of the most-listened-to tunes.

"We're getting 20,000 to 25,000 [listening] logs a day; we know what people are playing, and [we] publish the top 500 songs," Ohlweiler says.

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