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EMI Signs Deal With Microsoft To Add Music To Upcoming Zune Digital Player

August 22, 2006

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Zune, the new digital player from Microsoft set to compete with the iPod, will be pre-loaded with video content from EMI artists. The deal was closed last week. A spokesperson for EMI said that the label was still in discussions about other content deals with the software giant. “Apple has been an important partner in building the digital music market but any well-funded serious entrant has got to be good news for the artists and industry,” Jeff Kempler, executive vice president of EMI unit Virgin Records America, told Reuters.

Zune is Microsoft’s answer to the dominant position of Apple’s iPod that holds over 70% of the American digital player market. The new player will be released in the fall and although official details are scarce, a wave of information has been circulating in the internet from many sources in the latest few months. One of the most innovative features expected to come with Zune is a built in wi-fi system that will allow content to be purchased anywhere and might enable the sharing of files between users.

The agreement with EMI is expected to be only the first of a series of moves from Microsoft to load Zune brand with content. In fact Zune is a broad name given to the player, software, music site and community services to work as a single force against iPod & iTunes model.

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