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Sony, Microsoft in Web Venture

May 12, 1999|CHUCK PHILIPS

Sony Music Entertainment and Microsoft Corp. are expected to begin selling digitally delivered songs this summer on the Internet under an agreement expected to be announced today, sources said.

Sony, which releases music by such acts as Ricky Martin and the Offspring, has signed an agreement to use a new Microsoft technology to transmit commercially available singles on the Web at prices comparable to those charged by traditional retailers, sources said.

The Microsoft format, which enables computer users to digitally download music recordings twice as fast as anything currently available, is said to sound better than the popular MP3 compression technology and employs new security features added at Sony's request, sources said.

Sony and Microsoft won't begin downloading recordings until around July when Microsoft is set to roll out the launch of its new MS Windows Media Technologies 4.0. Through the alliance, Sony and Microsoft promise to provide fans with quick, easy access to Sony songs and music videos.

The deal between Sony and Microsoft comes just one week after Seagram Co.'s Universal Music Group announced a similar agreement with Intertrust Technologies.

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