AOL Unveils Updated Online Audio Site

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MENLO PARK, August 29, 2006 (PodTech News) — AOL’s parent company Time Warner is betting that a library of more than 2.5 million audio tracks will entice users to fork over $9.95 per month for unlimited on-demand streaming and downloading of songs and videos. The move is another step in AOL’s transformation from an online access provider to a full service entertainment destination. PodTech News spoke with AOL MusicNow’s Amit Shafrir.

Reporter’s Notes: AOL’s transformation continues. In July, it launched 45 on-demand channels featuring content from Nickelodeon, A&E and MTV, as well as user-generated content, and just last week, it announced it would offer full-length, downloadable movies from Twentieth Century Fox, Sony, Universal and Warner Brothers.

As the online music space heats up, watch for it to get even hotter — particularly now that SpiralFrog has announced a deal with Universal Music Group to offer free downloads from its vast catalog, with similar deals with other record labels no doubt in the works. Universal’s Peter Lofrumento declined to comment for this story, except to confirm it.

“Free” being my favorite four-letter “F” word, I’m betting on SpiralFrog.

— Matt Kelly

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