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November 26, 1998

DIAMOND MULTIMEDIA’S RIO MP3 PLAYER SHIPS AT LAST

By CBR Staff Writer

Having overcome a legal challenge from a hostile music publishing industry (CI No 3,526), Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc has finally announced shipment of its Rio PMP300 portable digital music player in North America. International shipments should follow in a week or two. Rio is a lightweight device that mixes and stores sixty minutes’ worth of digital music, downloadable from the internet to a PC. The player currently supports the MP3 format, a high-quality audio compression algorithm with no built- in copyright protection – hence the opposition from record labels, who fear that MP3 piracy will eat away at their revenues. In spite of their best efforts to obtain an injunction against Rio, however, the product is now available through e-commerce sites and from stores for an estimated retail price of $199.95. Diamond Multimedia also announced a strategic partnership with audiohighway.com. The companies have said they will promote and market the Rio in conjunction with audiohighway.com’s downloadable MP3 content. Finally, Diamond Multimedia has joined Liquid Audio, a2b, TCI Music and SonicNet in becoming a member of the Digital Media Association (DiMA). The group plans to tackle those issues that surround the development of innovative technologies that include the protection of IP property rights, payment of fair and reasonable royalties to the music publishing industry and opposition to technical and legal barriers inhibiting innovation. Clearly, Diamond Multimedia is out to appease those who would have prevented Rio from hitting the streets.

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