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Digital Distributor Play MPE Launching in Canada With Universal Music Deal

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Play MPE, the digital music distribution service owned by Vancouver’s Destiny Media Technologies with clients in the U.S., Australia, South Arica and Europe, is moving into Canada via Universal Music Canada, which will service its new releases through the Play MPE platform as of this Friday.

Play MPE is a global partner for UMG -- servicing its content in more than 50 territories -- but until now, Universal Music Canada had used another Canadian-owned company, Yangaroo’s DMDS, which continues to service both Sony and Warner, Billboard confirmed with both labels. Universal Music Canada will now be using both Play MPE and Yangaroo.

"All Universal Music Canada releases will continue to be distributed via Yangaroo DMDS,” Adam Hunt, Yangaroo’s senior vp, entertainment, music and awards, told Billboard, adding, "For more than 15 years, UMC continues to be a close and valued partner."

Notably, Play MPE previously launched in Canada in 2007 -- but plans went awry.

"At the time of the previous announcement, Play MPE's resources became diverted as they worked to cement a groundbreaking global agreement with UMG. The company never quite captured nor properly pursued the Canadian market," explained Play MPE business development consultant Stephanie Friedman in an email to Billboard.

"The situation is different now with me on board and with Universal Music Canada starting to service all releases this Friday; other labels that have been waiting will follow," Friedman added. "In fact when I approached Canadian radio and labels I was surprised at how excited they are for us to start working Canada. They are frustrated with their current service. Not to mention many Canadian labels already use us to service their content to the U.S. (ie. Arts & Crafts and eOne), U.K., Australia and beyond."

Friedman told Billboard that after furthering the company's goals in Canada's English-speaking market, she will work on building a bigger relationship with francophone countries, "bringing Belgian, French and African music to Quebec, and vice-versa. My Quebec radio colleagues and Canadian orgs like CIMA and SOCAN are excited."

Beyond that, she is leading Play MPE's move into Latin markets in both the U.S. and Latin America.

Also this month, Play MPE launched a new "easy-to-navigate" web-based player and has a global webinar scheduled for today (Jan. 22) to walk through the features, such as search capabilities to find releases by format, territory, label and artist. The Play MPE app also provides "quick access" to metadata including ISRCs, Cancon releases, photos, videos and tour dates.

"In Canada, tastemakers need to be able to discover Canadian-certified content easily," said Play MPE CEO Fred Vandenberg in a statement. "Our player and mobile apps enable these users to access the content they need, whenever and wherever they need it. Now Canadian users can benefit from an easy to use, professional platform delivering high-quality sound developed and tested in a global market."

Friedman added that the company is also entering new partnerships with industry organizations and services like BDSradio.com.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly indicated that Universal Music Canada would no longer be using Yangaroo DMDS to service its new releases. Universal Music Canada will in fact be using both Play MPE and Yangaroo.