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POP EYE

August 27, 1995|STEVE HOCHMAN

START 'EM UP: Paying a reported $12 million to use the Rolling Stones' "Start Me Up" as the Windows '95 theme isn't the only rock vein Microsoft is mining. Pop music is central to several products and services the company is launching, including tie-ins with a line of CD Plus titles (combination audio CDs and video CD-ROMs) and a comprehensive CD-ROM music encyclopedia.

"Our entry into the music business is to show [artists and record companies] the business opportunities, but also the creative tools available," says Nicole Mitskog, project lead for the CD Plus series.

September CD Plus releases of Randy Newman's "Faust" (featuring guest appearances by Elton John, Bonnie Raitt and others) and the young Seattle band Sky Cries Mary will be the first of a series designed to use the increased capabilities of the new Windows operating system. Upcoming releases will include a Soundgarden CD Plus, which will be tied in with the band's site on the new Microsoft Network on-line service.

The upcoming "Music Central" CD-ROM--an encyclopedia of more than 60,000 albums--was begun two years ago and has been overseen by Sam Sutherland, a former Billboard editor and executive at Windham Hill Records. In addition to written information, the package features numerous audio and video clips and will be complemented by a site on the new Microsoft Network online service. Future related and updated CD-ROM and online projects are on the drawing board, with Ken Barnes, the managing editor of the ICE CD newsletter and former editor of music industry trade Radio and Records, moving from L.A. to Seattle to work with Sutherland.

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