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Circuit City Enters Online Music Market with MusicNow

A screen shot of the MusicNow website
An image of the MusicNow website

2005-04-06 - Chicago, IL, USA: A new rival to iTunes and other existing online personalized music sellers has been announced. MusicNow has launched its new, highly-personalized digital music subscription service that includes user profile-based browse features, dynamically-updated Hotlists and Homepages, and "Scan My Collection" functionality, which populates members' MusicNow Collection with music that already exists on their computer.

The MusicNow site is operated by MusicNow LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Circuit City Stores Inc. The company manages the software and systems that cover every aspect of music content aggregation and delivery, including content acquisition and management, media storage, secure delivery and digital rights management to ensure that all rights holders are fairly compensated for their work.

"To date, music subscription services have required that their members put in a lot of work, as if music was their vocation," said Gary Cohen, president of MusicNow. "MusicNow 5.0 represents an evolution. It's actually fun to use."

Key personalization features include Member-to-Member Connectivity, which allows users to quickly and easily discover and share music with other members who share similar tastes. Automatically generated user Profile Pages take advantage of the most exciting elements of taste networking to give users a virtual way to discover new music through other people.

Hotlists enable the automatic delivery of selected playlists to the user's MusicNow Collection so they always have immediate access to any chart or list of songs in MusicNow. Whether it's a new album from your favorite artist or the top songs from a particular genre, Hotlists update dynamically as lists change due to fluctuating popularity or the addition of new songs.

Each user's Homepage is personalized and automatically updated in real- time to allow for immediate access to the user's favorite music.

MusicNow's enhanced browse capabilities, including member profile surfing, create impromptu music fan networks that push taste-makers' music flavors to a broader audience. MusicNow is the first digital music subscription service that is entirely Web-based, eliminating the need for cumbersome software downloads and allowing users to access their MusicNow Collections from any Internet-connected computer.

When a new member registers, MusicNow's "Scan My Collection" functionality provides the option to search the user's hard drive for any pre-existing music files and automatically populates the user's MusicNow Collection with all available songs. While this idea of a third party scanning your hard drive may seem intrusive to some, it is becoming an established norm for some types of online services to use this method. For example, search engine Google offers a 'Desktop Search' product which uses the Google search technology to find files on a user's hard drive.

MusicNow offers more than one million songs - including selections from the four major labels, EMI, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and the Warner Music Group, as well as independent labels - for a monthly fee of $9.95. Individual songs are still available for purchase for 99 cents each.

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