MP3.com to Promote Warner Music Artists

MP3.com took another step on its path to legitimacy in the eyes of the music industry Thursday, signing a promotional deal with Warner Music Group.

Under the three-year marketing and promotion deal, MP3.com will provide promotional services, such as featuring Warner Music artists throughout the site and distributing email mailings to its membership of about 11 million users.

A separate, two-year video agreement with WMG gives San Diego-based MP3.com a license to use music videos of the company’s artists.

The companies did not disclose the terms of either agreement.

“MP3.com is thrilled to be able to feature selected songs and videos from many of Warner Music’s top artists,” said MP3.com president and chief operating officer Robin Richards. “Both of these agreements will prove valuable to Warner Music artists and the more than 11 million registered users of MP3.com.”

The deals continue the music industry’s efforts to capitalize on the marketing potential of the Internet’s huge music following. WMG, which is owned by Time Warner, controls several popular labels including the Atlantic Group, Elektra, Rhino, London-Sire Records and Warner Bros. Records Inc.

“MP3.com’s online reach will help promote Warner Music artists in the coming years,” said Paul Vidich, executive vice president, strategic planning and business development at WMG. “We’re pleased to be working with MP3.com and we look forward to offering our artists and labels MP3.com’s unique distribution capability and technological infrastructure.”

The two deals also represent the increasing detente between the major music companies and MP3.com, considered a rogue by the mainstream industry just months ago. In November, the site agreed to shell out more than $50 million in damages to Seagram’s Universal Music Group, to settle Big Music’s last suit against the company. In all, the company spent over $150 million to settle lawsuits and secure licenses from the top five music companies.

Revenues from online promotions aren’t MP3.com’s only source of business. The company also provides technology enabling offline retailers to pipe in music and audio ads, for a subscription fee. MP3.com signed one of those deals Monday, with pet supplies retailer Petco, which has more than 500 stores nationwide. According to that agreement, Petco can use MP3.com’s system to schedule, manage and geographically target in-store audio advertisements through the service.

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