MP3.com Announces Partnership with Adergy

Lawsuit-plagued MP3.com today announced an agreement with retail and grocery-store audio advertising company Adergy, marking an effort to monetize the company’s cache of online music following a series of devastating legal settlements.

Currently, MP3.com offers a subscription music service that allows retail outlets to centrally manage in-store music, messaging and advertising while customizing playlists and controlling music distribution. Adergy will augment the product with customizable audio advertisements, serving as the company’s first national retail music value-added reseller.

Thursday’s agreement aims to help MP3.com reach a broader market base and broaden its retail music distribution services to the grocery retail community. Through the partnership, grocery store retailers and commercial businesses will be able to access content from digital artists who post music at MP3.com, as well as custom audio advertising messages from Adergy. The ability to insert these audio ads, say the companies, will make the MP3.com product more attractive to retailers.

The companies are hoping that retailers will bite at the opportunity to sell in-store airtime to vendors and advertisers to promote individual products in conjunction with the unsigned artists on MP3.com’s site.

“We are partnering with Adergy in order to extend our retail music program to grocery stores and retail businesses all over the country,” said MP3.com chairman and chief executive officer Michael Robertson.

“By leveraging Adergy’s messaging and distribution resources with our innovative engineering and extensive digital music content, we are able to offer retailers a complete music and messaging solution that allows them to effectively target thousands of customers per week directly at the point of purchase.”

“As our first VAR [value-added reseller] partner, Adergy will be invaluable in the implementation of our retail music vision,” said Bob Simril, vice president of retail music services at MP3.com. “By offering an easy-to-use, diverse and customizable music and advertising solution, we are expanding the music and messaging options for retail businesses. Adergy’s innovative custom audio advertising service provides a perfect fit with our retail music strategy.”

The news comes on the heels of some withering losses in settlement cases.

Last week, a federal judge ruled that the site infringed Universal Music Group copyrights. Ultimately, the site could be liable for $120 million to 250 million in damages.

Thursday’s agreement continues the embattled online music site’s efforts to find other, less controversial ways to monetize its hosting of mp3 files, and to stabilize its revenue with sources other than on-site advertising — MP3.com’s principal source of income thus far.

In June, the company signed a partnership with ad tech company AdAce that will allow MP3.com’s musicians to create and buy ads on the site. Musicians can create banners, upload existing ones, store them, buy ads, check on campaign reports, and be billed automatically.

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