Ticketmaster Group Inc. is expected to announce today a $12-million, two-year joint venture with N2K Inc., a leading online music retailer.
Sources say N2K would pay Ticketmaster $12 million cash over two years to become Ticketmaster Online's exclusive music retailer; if sales exceeded a certain undisclosed threshold, N2K would give Ticketmaster an additional cut.
The deal is the latest in a string of agreements New York-based N2K has signed in an effort to give its Music Boulevard sales site more exposure. In the last month, N2K has partnered with AOL Europe (a joint venture between America Online Inc. and Bertelsmann) and Microsoft Corp.'s Microsoft Plaza shopping site to appear in those locations.
Jupiter Communications estimates global online music sales would soar to $1.8 billion by 2001, although in 1997, such sales were only $71 million worldwide.
The deal comes as fast-growing N2K faces a stepped-up challenge from CDnow, a rival online music retailer that has launched a sizable television and radio advertising campaign. N2K calls its Music Boulevard the fastest-growing music site on the Internet; Jenkintown, Pa.-based CDnow says it is the world's leading online music retailer.
Los Angeles-based Ticketmaster has struck a number of marketing deals over the last two years linked to its Web site, which the company says receives an average of more than 75,000 visitors per day. MasterCard is a major sponsor of the site; in addition to tickets, the online Ticketmaster Mall sells tour-related and entertainment merchandise from various sources.
Ticketmaster recently agreed to be acquired by Barry Diller-controlled USA Networks Inc., which encompasses the Home Shopping Network.