November 10, 2003

Digital Music Store

MusicNow Works With Top Digital Device Manufacturers and Best Buy for Launch Of New Digital Music Store

New Online Store Works Easily with More Than 40 Portable Digital Music Players To Make Digital Music Simple for Millions of Customers

CHICAGO and MINNEAPOLIS, Nov 10, 2003 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- MusicNow Inc., developer of a legal online music store and service, and Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), North America's leading specialty retailer of consumer electronics and entertainment products, today announced the launch of the MusicNow Download Store, which will be available only through Best Buy for the month of November. The new store lets music lovers download songs directly to more than 40 portable digital music players, giving them more options to enjoy their music than any other digital music site.

The MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy allows consumers to download music more easily to their favorite digital music players from industry leaders such as Creative, Rio, iRiver, Phillips/Nike, and Digitalway. Unlike other digital music offerings, the MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy enables users to transfer songs directly to more than 40 portable devices without having to convert their music or download extra plug-ins. This impressive compatibility is possible through MusicNow's special integration with the Windows Media Player 9 Series. In addition, the compression efficiencies of the Windows Media Audio 9 format provides music content in half the size of MP3 files without sacrificing quality, making it possible to store more music on portable devices.

"Best Buy is committed to offering our customers leading services that make buying entertainment digitally a great experience. With the launch of the MusicNow Download Store in the Windows format, we believe consumers now have a great choice to purchase digital music that will work on many devices," said Scott Young, vice president of digital entertainment for Best Buy. "We want music to be available to people how and when they want it, and that means letting them take their music with them on the road, in the car, or wherever they want to enjoy it. The combination of Best Buy's retail expertise and MusicNow's integration with more than 40 portable audio players offers an exciting digital entertainment experience for music fans."

The MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy features more than 400,000 tracks from all the major labels. It is available now at and also can be viewed through special kiosks at Best Buy retail stores. MusicNow customized its service for Best Buy and the two companies are working closely with portable device manufacturers to continue improving the way consumers experience digital music -- at home, at work and on the go. The ability to work seamlessly with so many different music devices is one feature that differentiates the MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy from the rest of the digital music field.

MusicNow gives consumers a single, comprehensive destination to enjoy digital music through a wide array of listening options. Shopping at the MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy enables consumers to purchase music a la carte, giving them the freedom to buy digital tracks and albums without a subscription. In addition, Best Buy customers also have the option of becoming MusicNow members, enabling them to accumulate larger digital music collections at a lower cost and giving them access to MusicNow' unique entertainment features. Following are the simple options:

-- MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy: Shoppers can purchase
individual tracks for $0.99 or full albums for $9.95 with no
subscription fee

-- All MusicNow: $9.95/month for premium channels of exclusive music
programming showcasing the work of a particular artist or genre;
unlimited tracks on demand that are available for play online and
offline for the duration of the subscription; $0.99 per song and
$9.95 per album for permanent downloads that can be burned to CD and
transferred to portable devices
-- MusicNow Premium Channels: $4.95/month for premium channels

The MusicNow service is designed more like a music magazine than a music database. With MusicNow memberships, music enthusiasts receive access to 40 channels of original music programming including the co-branded channels Elvis 2nd to None, The Soul of Quincy Jones and the Blue Note Channel. MusicNow members enjoy premium, commercial-free radio stations distinctive to each channel. TrackPaks -- MusicNow's exclusive compilation series -- offer a unique way to discover the channel's new recordings alongside old favorites. Channel home pages spotlight new hits and other special tracks and albums, which subscribers can listen to on-demand or purchase for transfer to their favorite portable device. MusicNow will continue to add additional channels to the service featuring the biggest names in music.

As part of the nationwide launch of the service, Best Buy and MusicNow are conducting a promotion with portable audio devices and blank media such as CD's: when music lovers purchase these items and sign up for a month of the All MusicNow service, they receive their first 10 song downloads at no additional cost. Participants in this promotion include: Creative, Rio, iRiver, Digitalway, Phillips/Nike, Samsung, Fujifilm, Imation, Memorex, and TDK.

Also, to promote digital music as a holiday gift giving idea, Best Buy will sell holiday gift cards that are redeemable at The MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy beginning in mid-November. These cards will be displayed in three locations within Best Buy stores -- with the portable audio players, in the music section, and with the gift cards.

"With the launch of the Download Store that works with more than 40 devices and our launch with Best Buy, MusicNow offers consumers the best way to purchase and use digital music," said Scott Kauffman, president and chief executive officer of MusicNow. "Our Windows-based service and unprecedented ease of use with multiple portable devices will further accelerate the mainstream consumer adoption of digital music services."

Manufacturer Comments


"Seamless integration between PCs and NOMAD portable audio players gives music-passionate customers a new level of freedom and flexibility. Customers can download music from the MusicNow Download Store directly to a Creative NOMAD portable audio player in just one easy step, giving users more time to enjoy new music on their NOMAD anywhere they want to go."

Lisa O'Malley, senior brand manager for portable audio products at Creative


"Rio's approach has always been to support non-proprietary music services that will benefit the digital music consumer. We're excited to be supporting Best Buy and the MusicNow Download Store. It's a validation that this is a good market for consumers, and the store will provide them with another choice to find the music they're searching for."

Jeff Hastings, president of Rio


"Customers require online music services to deliver a superior online music experience. The MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy mirrors what customers want from a music service. iRiver is committed to providing products for online music services, and it's refreshing when music services, such as MusicNow, heed customer demands."

Jonathan Sasse, president of iRiver America


"By integrating the MusicNow Download Store into our digital music players, Best Buy customers will love how easy it is to download music right onto an MPIO Digital Music Player. Our already easy to use players combined with the convenience of the MusicNow Download Store, open the door for everyone to leave a Best Buy store and start downloading and enjoying digital music immediately."

Marcelino Kim, vice president marketing and sales for Digitalway Inc.


"As a premier supplier of portable music players and recording media, TDK has always recognized the need to encourage legal music sharing among listeners. We are proud to support the launch of the MusicNow Download Store for Best Buy, and its efforts to make access to digital music easy, economical and enjoyable."

Bruce Youmans, TDK vice president of marketing


"Giving customers easy-to-use and convenient access to the music they love is a priority of ours. The MusicNow Download Store helps our customers get access to and manage music so they can take their favorite tunes with them wherever they go."

Erin Burns, channel marketing manager - retail, Samsung Electronics


"Memorex is convinced that working with Best Buy and MusicNow will benefit the consumers in obtaining their favorite music in a quick and convenient manner. As the market leader in blank CD and DVD media, Memorex is committed to providing high quality digital media that will enable consumers to enjoy their legally downloaded music on any CD or DVD player."

Allen H. Gharapetian, vice president of marketing and product development for Memorex


"Fujifilm is pleased to join Best Buy in bringing consumers new and different ways to enjoy their favorite music. We believe that today's music enthusiast will embrace the flexibility, choice, and convenience that the MusicNow Download Store offers."

Bill Drysdale, director of sales, Fuji Photo Film USA Inc.

About MusicNow

MusicNow Inc., formerly FullAudio, develops a legal online music store and service with more than 40 channels of original music programming and content from all five major labels -- BMG, EMI, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and the Warner Music Group -- as well as the independent labels Koch and Sanctuary. Customers have the option to either purchase tracks and albums a la carte or subscribe to MusicNow's subscription service, which provides unlimited access to the music in MusicNow's library for a monthly subscription fee. MusicNow is primarily marketed through distribution partners, which currently include Best Buy, Charter Communications, Clear Channel Communications, EarthLink and Microsoft. Founded in April 1999, MusicNow manages the software and systems that cover every aspect of music content aggregation and delivery including content acquisition and management, media storage, secure delivery and digital rights management to ensure that all rights holders are fairly compensated for their work. The company is headquartered in Chicago, with offices in Palo Alto, CA. For more information or to subscribe to MusicNow, please visit .

About Best Buy Co., Inc.

Minneapolis-based Best Buy Co., Inc. is North America's leading specialty retailer of consumer electronics, personal computers, entertainment software and appliances. The Company's subsidiaries operate retail stores and/or Web sites under the names: Best Buy (, Future Shop (, Geek Squad (, and Magnolia Audio Video ( The Company's subsidiaries reach consumers through more than 700 retail stores in the United States and Canada.

SOURCE MusicNow Inc.

Greg Rudin of MusicNow, +1-312-663-9363 x161,
[email protected] , Erin Poole of Ruder-Finn for MusicNow, +1-312-329-3977,
[email protected] , or Brian Lucas of Best Buy, +1-612-291-6131,
[email protected]

Posted by Craig at November 10, 2003 02:27 PM