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FullAudio Licenses Warner for Launch on Clear Channel

Web music firm FullAudio on Tuesday said it licensed Warner Music, clinching its third licensing deal with a major record label for a subscription service it plans to launch this month through Clear Channel Communications Inc. radio stations.

FullAudio plans to include Warner-controlled tracks, along with recordings from EMI Group Plc and Vivendi Universal’s Universal Music Group on its service through Clear Channel, which will be called MusicNow.

Warner Music is a unit of AOL Time Warner Inc.

The service, which enables users to download songs for a monthly fee, is currently being tested in Phoenix.

FullAudio is providing the infrastructure and content for the subscription to Clear Channel and other distributors, who will then determine their own pricing for the service.

The FullAudio service will compete against major label-backed services like MusicNet and Pressplay as well as start-up Listen.com’s Rhapsody service.

All of these services are attempting to provide secure and commercial alternatives to free song-swap service Napster, which has been idled by copyright infringement.

But several other free services like Morpheus and Kazaa have emerged in Napster’s wake, challenging the success of these new paid services.

Clear Channel, the leading U.S. radio broadcaster, plans to launch FullAudio for a fee later this month through stations in Phoenix and possibly other cities, a source familiar with the matter said.

Ultimately, Clear Channel will roll out the service on 30 radio stations in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Salt Lake City throughout the spring and summer of 2002.

The service will be branded with individual Clear Channel stations and powered by FullAudio’s content and technology.

Pricing for MusicNow is slated to start at $7.49 for the Gold plan, which allows the listener to download 50 tracks per month, which accumulate every month so that the listener would have 600 tracks by year’s end, sources said.

By pricing the service at $7.49, FullAudio is undercutting both MusicNet and Pressplay, which are currently charging subscribers just under $10 a month for their most basic service.

Clear Channel also plans to offer a deal known as the Platinum plan, under which subscribers will pay $14.99 per month, allowing them to accumulate 100 tracks per month, or 1,200 tracks in one year, according to sources.

Consumers will be able to preview MusicNow for free for three days, sources said.

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