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November 29, 1998

IBM TO START ‘MADISON’ NET MUSIC TESTS NEXT YEAR

By CBR Staff Writer

IBM Corp will start trials of its secure internet music delivery system dubbed the ‘Madison project’ (CI No 3,472) next year. The company has signed up major US record companies such as Time-Warner, Sony Music and EMI to participate in the project. Large record companies have previously fought shy of downloading commercially copyrighted music over the web because of worries over piracy;, until now the sector has previously been dominated by small independent record labels using systems such as Liquid Audio’s MP3 audio compression system (CI No 3,460). IBM is estimated to have invested $20m in the Madison project – which will offer a very high level of security for copyrighted music, the company says. The trials will be the largest scale digital music distribution project so far attempted, dwarfing previous agreements such as Deutsche Telekom’s T-Online deal with PolyGram, EMI, Warner Music, Bertelsmann and Sony Music (CI No 3,328). However, Big Blue will face stiff competition from the MP3 standard which is already readily available and whose proponents – Liquid Audio, Diamond Multimedia, Iomega Corp – have recently working to add anti-piracy elements to the widely used compression software (CI No 3,540).

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