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AOL buys MusicNow, aims for top spot

Posted by iTech - 2005-11-05

Looking to boost its presence in the digital music market, America Online Inc. (AOL) has acquired music subscription provider MusicNow from Circuit City Stores Inc., AOL announced Thursday.
The acquisition agreement was signed at the end of September and the deal, whose financial terms weren't disclosed, closed this week, AOL said a statement.

The new music service, dubbed AOL Music Now, can be previewed as of Thursday by the general public.

AOL will gradually migrate to AOL Music Now over the coming months subscribers of its existing music service, MusicNet@AOL. They will be notified via e-mail of the switch and they will maintain their current price plans.

AOL Music Now will offer users a higher degree of customization and personalization than are currently possible with MusicNet@AOL, AOL said. The goal for the new AOL Music Now is to make it "the number one music service," according to AOL.

MusicNow, founded as FullAudio in 1999 and based in Chicago, was bought by Circuit City in 2004 and has 40 employees. AOL Music Now will operate as a standalone subsidiary within AOL, which in turn is a subsidiary of Time Warner Inc.

AOL Music Now will be both an online music store and a subscription service. It will sell individual songs for US$0.99 and offer two subscription options: unlimited streaming and downloading to a PC for $9.95 per month and unlimited streaming and downloading to a PC and a portable music device for $14.95 per month.

AOL Music Now can be managed with Windows Media Player or other compatible players.

Personalization features will include daily custom playlists and the ability to view and share music profiles with other users.

MusicNow's library includes over 1 million songs from the four major music labels.

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