Warner Links With Mediaport Kiosks

Warner Music Group has inked a deal to offer music via Mediaport Entertainment Inc. kiosks and the Web site.

Warner Music Group has inked a deal to offer music via Mediaport Entertainment Inc. kiosks and the Web site.

WMG is the first major label to distribute via Mediaport. Independent giant Sanctuary Records Group signed with Mediaport in May.

Mediaport is known for MusicATM, its free-standing units at which people can create compilations, then either burn them to a CD or download them to portable players and USB flash memory devices. CEO Helen Selzer says the system does not require staffing.

The company is on schedule to have 1,200 of its MusicATMs placed in retail outlets, colleges, military bases and travelers' waiting areas before the end of next year. According to Mediaport founder Jon Butler, contracts with several major universities are in place but are awaiting deployment before they can be disclosed.

"We are creating a new distribution channel," Seltzer says. "We're not replacing anything or competing with anybody in the places we're going into. The concept behind our company is simple: We bring music to the consumer rather than forcing them to come to the music."

Songs cost 99 cents each, and a typical compilation of 10 songs (in the customer's choice of MP3 or WMA format) can be transferred in about three minutes.

The landscape is littered with failed kiosk initiatives, including Blockbuster Video's New Leaf and Target's RedDotNet projects. "Everyone said the Internet kiosk idea was a failure five years ago, but people have become a lot more familiar with digital music since then," Seltzer said, adding that technology has advanced as well.

Mediaport will compete with Starbucks' Hear Music media bar, TouchStand, Media Inventory Control Systems and Virtual Music Store, among other kiosk companies. Seltzer said Mediaport's flexibility, focus and targeted distribution approach give it the edge over others in the field.

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