Listen.com and The Harry Fox Agency License Digital Music Subscription Service

By | November 15, 2001 at 12:00 AM

The Harry Fox Agency, Inc. (HFA), the licensing subsidiary of The National Music Publishers’ Association, Inc. (NMPA) and Listen.com, Inc. announced today that they have reached an agreement on the licensing of musical works for Rhapsody(TM), Listen.com ®’s digital music subscription service.

This agreement is modeled on the terms of the agreement that the NMPA and HFA recently reached with the Recording Industry Association of America for licensing on-demand streaming and limited downloads offered by Internet music subscription services.

Under the agreement, Listen.com will have access to every musical work authorized by participating publishers to be licensed by HFA, the largest agency in the industry for licensing reproductions and distributions of musical works. HFA represents more than 27,000 music publisher principals, which in turn represent the interests of more than 160,000 songwriters. HFA will issue to Listen.com licenses to reproduce and distribute musical works through its subscriptionservice, helping to streamline the process for making major and independent label recordings readily available to online consumers of music through Rhapsody.

Rhapsody, a private label service that will allow distribution partners to reach consumers with a compelling, co-branded music subscription service, gives subscribers unlimited on-demand playback of a wide variety of musical content. Rhapsody, which Listen.com is launching on December 3, is the only music service to integrate streaming music-on-demand, Internet radio, music discovery, and extensive editorial reviews and recommendations.

Once royalty rates for streaming music-on-demand are determined and/or confirmed by the U.S. Copyright Office, royalties will be payable on a retroactive basis from commencement of the licensed services. Pending that determination, Listen.com will pay HFA an advance of up to $500,000 toward the royalties to be determined. If a rate is not set during the next two years, Listen.com will pay monthly advances of up to $31,250 until the rate is set.

“We are delighted to add Listen.com to our growing roster of licensed Internet services,” said Gary Churgin, President and CEO of HFA. “We are excited about the prospects for the market for such services and look forward to working with the team at Listen.com and its partners to bring consumers the music they want when they want it.”

“This confirms that music publishers are prepared to meet the demand of Internet music services for licenses to launch subscription services immediately,” said Edward P. Murphy, President and CEO of NMPA. “We expect to see many similar deals with Internet services in the weeks and months to come.”

“Today’s agreement is a continuation of our commitment to deliver music services that fully respect the interests of copyright holders. We’re glad that the HFA and the NMPA are helping move the market forward by providing licenses to legitimate subscription services like Rhapsody,” said Sean Ryan, President and CEO of Listen.com. “This deal will allow us to launch Rhapsody in December of this year with a large body of music from the independent label deals we have signed to date, and simplify the process for adding major label content to the service in the coming months.”

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