Universal Music Group and Orlando-Fla.-based company Promo Only will unveil a new, proprietary system for digitally delivering singles to radio this week at the National Assn. of Broadcasters Radio Sh

Universal Music Group and Orlando-Fla.-based company Promo Only will unveil a new, proprietary system for digitally delivering singles to radio this week at the National Assn. of Broadcasters Radio Show, which runs Oct. 6-8 in San Diego.

In the weeks prior to the launch of the Promo Only MPE (music protected by encryption) service, the companies had already initiated a soft launch, shipping singles by such UMG artists as Eminem, Hoobastank, Lionel Richie, Saliva, Gwen Stefani and U2 to radio stations.

Promo Only announced in July that it had signed a deal with Universal Music Group to securely deliver digital singles for all of UMG's imprints to U.S. stations. The planned August launch was delayed two months as the companies ironed out the details and fine-tuned the technology.

Since the deal was first announced, Clear Channel Radio has lent its support. Clear Channel is making Promo Only MPE software available to all of its music stations. Its engineers and music directors have been working with UMG and Promo Only to test the system. Promo Only is now supplying non-Clear Channel stations with the software, which they can use for releases by labels other than UMG once Promo Only signs additional clients, as it plans to do.

Among the benefits touted by Promo Only and UMG are reduced costs for labels, quicker distribution to radio, tighter security and the ability to better control leaks and piracy.

"We clearly see this as the future," Vinnie Freda, UMG's executive VP of digital logistics and business services, tells Billboard.biz. "We see this as a paradigm shift in how we deliver music, initially to radio and ultimately to other tastemakers such as publicists, journalists and retailers."

Freda says both labels and radio stand to benefit. "From our end, we're gaining some cost savings by eliminating manufacturing and freight," he points out. "Radio gains greater organization in how they maintain and archive their music.

"But as far as the industry overall, possibly the greatest benefit is security," he continues. "We will no longer be sending out thousands of unprotected CDs. These will have a watermark. And we can structure it so it's released to all stations at the exact same time, [so] it prevents leaks from taking place."

Promo Only, founded in 1992, is best known for delivering subscription-based music and music-video services, including compilation CDs of new music, to radio. The company's technology partner for the MPE enterprise is Vancouver-based Destiny Media Technologies, which specializes in developing tools for distributing digital media through the Internet.

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