July 19, 2001 9:20 AM PDT

Pressplay to use MP3.com technology

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Pressplay, an online music-subscription service backed by Vivendi Universal and Sony, Thursday said it will use MP3.com's technology as the blueprint of its offering.

The agreement is not surprising, given public statements of this intention since Vivendi Universal agreed to acquire MP3.com for about $350 million in May. Vivendi Universal painted the MP3.com acquisition as a technology buy, saying the online music company's technology could facilitate the digital distribution of various forms of content.

Vivendi Universal has a large stake in creating content. It owns the largest record company, Universal Music Group, major television and film studios in Canal+ and Universal Studios, and international publishing ventures, including a recent acquisition bid for Houghton Mifflin.

The acquisition of MP3.com was one of the pivotal moments in the brief but contentious lifespan of the online music industry. Many of the industry's scrappier start-ups have either gone out of business or have financial relationships with much larger entities. This includes Bertelsmann's investment in Napster and its acquisition of Myplay, and Yahoo's acquisition of Launch Media.

With Thursday's deal, MP3.com will not only provide the building blocks to help Pressplay deliver music, but also will offer songs in Pressplay's library to visitors of its own site.

Pressplay will launch later this summer, the company said.


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