In an effort to extend its connection with independent musicians and their fans, MSN Music is teaming with Garageband.com for a number of new features.

In an effort to extend its connection with independent musicians and their fans, MSN Music is teaming with Garageband.com for a number of new features.

MSN Music is introducing the "GarageBand.com Hub Page," which highlights music and content from the community's top-rated independent artists. MSN Music is also building an Internet radio channel that will stream music from GarageBand's up-and-coming artists.

As part of its rollout, the GarageBand.com Hub Page will highlight five artists that received the best ratings from GarageBand's listener community. Visitors can download one free track from each artist; others are available for $.99. Among the first artists on the page is rising pop singer Geoff Byrd.

In the coming months, songs from more than 100,000 GarageBand artists will be added to the MSN Music catalog.

GarageBand gives musicians the choice of giving MP3 downloads away for free or providing them as streams. MSN Music gives these artists a third option, to sell tracks as downloads for $.99.

MSN Music also plans to offer up to 1.7 million tracks GarageBand is restoring from the former MP3.com archive. This development is subject to consent from copyright holders.

MSN Music offers 650,000 tracks from all four major music labels, as well as 3,000 indies, including exclusive deals with jazz label Justin Time, soul label Malaco, Telarc and classical label Delos.

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