Marketing Supported Player May End MP3 Woes

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EverAd Inc., New York, by the end of the month expects to introduce a desktop MP3 player that will be wholly advertiser supported. The PlayJ, which has been available for download in a beta version for the past month, will allow marketers to target young consumers. It also will be beneficial to music labels that have their titles downloaded from the Internet.

"What makes us unique is that we partnered together with the labels and they are providing us with the music." said Mody Livisky, PlayJ executive director of advertising sales. "Labels are having a big problem with piracy, so we said to them, instead of fighting the world, join us. Because they are our partner, it becomes beneficial for people to share music and download from sites because each time the tracks are listened to, advertising is attached to it."

The PlayJ functions like a typical MP3 player with a scrolling title list, equalizer and standard controls. But it has an added animated banner on the top and several link buttons for added e-commerce applications.

EverAd has agreements with more than 250 music labels and advertisers to include banner files with a library of 70,000 MP3 files.

Initially, the company will provide free advertising space to entice new partners into long-term contracts. Within the next two months the company plans to charge each advertiser $15 for every thousand times their ad is downloaded with a song. The ads will be included with different song titles, preventing consumers from becoming bored or overburdened by the model. EverAd also can track downloads for advertisers, giving them a detailed report of the number of downloads, the duration of plays, and the number of click-throughs via their e-commerce tie-in buttons.

Advertisers choose the songs they want ads coupled with based on listener profile, genre, popularity, Net prefix, or existing or newly formed marketing agreements with labels or musicians. The banner ads can be clicked through online or stored in the player's memory until the user reconnects to the Internet. The player then gives the user the option of going directly to the site.

Advertisers also can include offline pages including applications, information requests or product orders that will be fulfilled once a consumer's Internet connection is re-established.

In addition, PlayJ has a "Buy Music" button that can send a consumer to a participating label or online music store to purchase the full album with the song they have downloaded. The button, like the banners, can also be used offline as well. The banner ads and the "Buy Music" button can be co-coordinated through the company to augment new or existing marketing deals.

A "download" button enables advertisers to purchase links that will bring users to a specific site to download new music.

The PlayJ is designed to work with any existing MP3 player with a plug-in or by itself. PlayJ is in discussions with WinAmp to license the technology and marketing model and hopes to formulate other agreements.

"We are not competing with anybody, on the contrary we are working with them," said Livisky. We can license them the technology, and they can use their own advertising with the same concepts we use. This is a new model for an MP3 player and a new way for labels, advertisers and technology companies to benefit."

Research and development for the player began in Israel about a year ago, and last year the company opened a New York office to begin marketing and licensing agreements. Its first agreement was with, and the player, in a non-advertiser supported beta version, has been available from the site since late January.

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