REDMOND, Wash., May 2, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a dramatic upgrade to WindowsMedia.com, the Internet's most popular audio and video guide*, now offering unmatched search and navigation capabilities, integrated access to artist and album information from Alliance Entertainment Corp.'s All Music Guide, and one of the Web's largest directories of downloadable music from major and independent labels. WindowsMedia.com's new features make it easier than ever for mainstream consumers to find and enjoy music, movies and more in the high-quality Windows Media TM Format.
To celebrate this milestone, Microsoft today kicked off the "Week of WindowsMedia.com," running now through May 8. This series of promotions will feature exclusive content from such top-tier artists as Christina Aguilera, Phish and Madonna, live-concert video downloads from House of Blues, movie trailers from the Cannes Film Festival and never-before-released footage from popular movies. Special features will be showcased each day at http://windowsmedia.com/ .
WindowsMedia.com also will host a monthlong portable music device giveaway.** Every day through May 31, WindowsMedia.com will give away three portable music devices. Eight first-prize winners will receive a Hewlett-Packard Jornada Pocket PC, and the grand-prize winner will receive a free trip to and VIP treatment for two at a House of Blues concert in Los Angeles. Registration is free; details are available at http://windowsmedia.com/ .
"The incredible growth in audience and content at WindowsMedia.com presented an opportunity for us to transform the online digital media experience," said Dave Fester, general manager of marketing, Digital Media Division, Microsoft. "The new WindowsMedia.com, enhanced by All Music Guide data, powerful search capabilities and the huge music database, delivers on our goal of making it easy for people to find great content."
Launched just last year to help consumers discover and sample the best of the Web's audio and video content, WindowsMedia.com has already become the Internet's most popular guide to audio and video content on the Internet, with more than 5 million unique visitors per month, according to recent figures from Media Metrix.*
All Music Guide Integration
WindowsMedia.com is the only audio and video guide to incorporate the rich information on more than 400,000 albums from All Music Guide. Searching an artist's name returns artwork, a biography, a discography with individually rated albums and a listing of similar artists. Following a link from an artist's main page to a particular album in the discography returns album art, album details, a track listing and the All Music Guide album review. Integrated with the All Music Guide information is a listing of all the songs and videos currently available from that artist via WindowsMedia.com.
Massive Music Download Directory
WindowsMedia.com is creating one of the Internet's largest directories of downloadable music from major and independent labels, with more than 60,000 tracks available immediately and 40,000 to be added within weeks. The single largest source of downloads available through WindowsMedia.com is Musicmaker.com, which has provided links to tracks drawn from the largest independent labels. The Musicmaker.com library includes more than 20,000 jazz, 35,000 classical and 20,000 rock tracks, plus significant collections in specialty genres.
Thousands of additional tracks will be available from Amplified.com, Atlantic Records, Atomic Pop, Del-Fi, edge102.com, Epitonic, Global Music Network Inc., House of Blues Digital Inc., K-tel, Launch.com, Ministry of Sound, MTV.com, Mudhut, Music Choice, Musicdownloads.com, Raveworld, Remotemusic.com, Rioport, Tower Records and VH1.com.
"The new WindowsMedia.com is the ideal channel for us to get our vast library before millions of Windows Media users," said Bill Crowley, senior vice president of marketing and a co-founder of Musicmaker.com. "The guide's design makes it easy for music fans to get directly to the artists and genres they like, and the rich background information will encourage them to discover new gems in our library."
Week of WindowsMedia.com
WindowsMedia.com celebrates its new look and capabilities with a week of exclusive free music downloads, music videos, movie promotions and more. The "Week of WindowsMedia.com" kicks off today with a free download of an exclusive remix of "What a Girl Wants" by Christina Aguilera, audio and video streams of Aguilera's "I Turn To You" and a chance to win tickets to Aguilera concerts in 15 markets. Fans can also download a custom user interface, or "skin," for Windows Media Player 7 featuring Aguilera. Other highlights today include a documentary with live concert shots from No Doubt's 1999 tour, a behind-the-scenes interview with Jennifer Lopez, the "WWF Smackdown!," Madonna's "American Pie" video from PreviewTunes and baseball highlights from MaxBaseball.com.
Many more free specials are coming up in the "Week of WindowsMedia.com," including these:
Download of Whitney Houston's "I'm Every Woman (C & C Mix)" and a video stream of "I Learned From the Best"
Prerelease download of "Heavy Things" from Phish, download of "I Love You (BT Remix)" from Sarah McLachlan, "Oops! ... I Did It Again" from Britney Spears and music from No Doubt and The Who
Video download of the band 311 in a live House of Blues concert.
A new episode of "Behind the Scenes at 'That '70s Show'"
Movie trailers from the Cannes Film Festival
A special package to mark the release of "Jaws" on DVD that includes a custom "Jaws" Windows Media Player skin as well as never-before-released footage from the movie.
Unannounced surprise specials throughout the week
New Features Deliver the Best Experience
Changes at WindowsMedia.com go far beyond its new look. Like the Windows Media Player 7, released to consumers today in beta form, the new WindowsMedia.com was designed to make digital media accessible to mainstream audiences. The site was entirely rebuilt to handle the explosive growth in visitors as well as the massive amount of content available in the Windows Media Format, especially in such popular categories as music downloads and radio. Key features of WindowsMedia.com include the following:
The audio and video people want most. The five major record labels, top independent labels and movie studios are among the more than 1,000 content providers accessible through WindowsMedia.com. That means music fans can hear popular artists, movie fans can watch the latest trailers, and audio-book aficionados can listen to the top titles. WindowsMedia.com is expanding its database to include more than 100,000 songs, 2,000 music videos and 1,900 radio stations as well as scores of news, sports and entertainment sites.
Common activities made easy. Music fans will appreciate the single search interface that points them to music downloads, music videos or artist information from All Music Guide. The Radio Guide accommodates browsing or searches by keyword, format, band, location, language, call sign or frequency, and it remembers visitors' favorite stations. The Broadband Guide brings high-quality content together in one place to help broadband customers make the most of their connections.
Fresh content daily. Sixteen featured content providers present daily specials, which are showcased in the major content sections, and over 120 content providers update audio and video headlines weekly. Featured content providers at launch include AtomFilms, Atomic Pop, Bootleg TV, BMG Entertainment, Break TV, Centerseat, CNET Networks Inc., Hollywood Online, House Of Blues, LAUNCH Media Inc., Music Choice, MSNBC, Radio Free Virgin, Raveworld, RollingStone.com and Warner Music Group.
WindowsMedia.com ( http://windowsmedia.com/ ), part of the MSN TM network of Internet services, is among the leading audio and video guides on the Internet. WindowsMedia.com provides access to localized audio and video content worldwide, including major music and video events and entertainment from more than 1,000 content providers.
About Windows Media
Windows Media, the leading digital media platform, provides consumers, content providers, solution providers, software developers and corporations with unmatched audio and video quality. Windows Media Technologies, which include Windows Media Player, Windows Media Services, Windows Media Tools and the Windows Media Software Development Kit (SDK), are available for download at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia/ . The Windows Media Player is the fastest-growing digital media player and is available in 24 languages. To date, there are over 100 million licensed copies of the Windows Media Player, growing by more than one every second.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software - any time, any place and on any device.
* As measured in unique visitors and reach by Media Metrix. Audio and video guide category defined by Microsoft and includes WindowsMedia.com, RealNetworks RealGuide, Yahoo Broadcast and MP3.com.
** Open to U.S. residents 18 years or older. Void where prohibited. For full rules, see promotional site.
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