Total Music lives once again. Embattled online playlist service Project Playlist has acquired the assets and employees of the defunct music platform, which it plans to use to offer streaming music and music downloads.
The deal was announced via a blog post on the Project Playlist site, where it also noted that the integration of the new company will result in layoffs for both Total Music and existing Project Playlist employees to reduce “redundancies.”
Exactly how Project Playlist plans to use the Total Music assets is as yet unclear, but it’s likely that it will use the infrastructure to let existing users build playlists based on a library of licensed songs it has collected, rather than link to sources of free music available online as it does now.
That linking model has brought the company in conflict with the music industry and various companies have sued the playlist building service. Project Playlist has managed to strike licensing deals with both Sony Music and EMI Music Group, who have withdrawn from the legal effort. This acquisition points further to a legitimate relaunch.
Along with the acquisition announcement, Project Playlist also revealed new licensing deals with Sony/ATV Music Publishing and EMI Music Publishing.
The Total Music entity, owned by Universal Music Group and Sony, had, before it shut down, acquired the Ruckus college-based music subscription service. It’s not fully clear how much of that organization is included in the Total Music purchase. One of the downfalls of the Ruckus service was its use of DRM technology to manage downloaded songs. Ruckus operated much like any other subscription service, only it didn’t charge a monthly fee. But any music downloaded from the service didn’t work with the iPod and required users to visit the site every month to refresh their licenses.
If Project Playlist is focusing solely on the streaming element of the Total Music/Ruckus infrastructure, these limitations won’t apply.
Former Project Playlist CEO Oven Van Natta recently left the company to take over the helm of MySpace. Sykes, a co-founder of MTV and former president of VH1, was a boardmember, and took over the CEO role once Van Natta left.
Stay tuned to Billboard.biz for more details on this breaking story as they become available.