IBM, RealNetworks to make music over 'Net

RealNetworks and IBM have announced an agreement to develop a new application which will allow users to download high-quality audio and video transmissions over the Internet and store them as files in their personal computers. RealNetworks will supply the encoding technology, as well as the software for the new application, while IBM will provide the security features.

RealNetworks and IBM have announced an agreement to develop a new application which will allow users to download high-quality audio and video transmissions over the Internet and store them as files in their personal computers.

Under the agreement, RealNetworks, which develops streaming audio and video software, will supply the encoding technology, as well as the software for the new application, while IBM will provide the security features for the system, according to a joint release from the companies. Encoding technology enables audio and video content to be converted into a format which can be downloaded onto a PC as a data file.

The new application, called Electronic Music Management System, (EMMS) was developed by IBM as a way of formatting and distributing digital content over the Internet. Unlike Real Networks' RealPlayer streaming software, which only allows data and voice transmissions to be received over the Internet while a user is online, EMMS "ships" songs directly to customers, enabling them to store the song as data files in their personal computers.

EMMS will be used by the BMG, EMI, Sony Music, Universal Music, and Warner Music in market trials expected to start during the second quarter of this year.

As online music becomes more popular, companies are quickly trying to capitalize on it. It has also been speculated that Microsoft Corp. will unveil its new online music distribution system tomorrow at Audisee99 in Hollywood, California.

A RealNetworks spokesman declined to give further details.

RealNetworks can be reached at http://www.realnetworks.com, and IBM can be reached at http://www.ibm.com.

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