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NPR Developing Digital Music Service


Washington, D.C.; August 31, 2006 - NPR will create a major digital music service to extend the significant role that public radio stations, networks and producers currently hold in music discovery and create a unified place to showcase all genres on present and future media platforms.

This project is tentatively scheduled to roll out in the first half of 2007. It will address growing audience interest in on-demand and non-traditional settings to find music content, and to maximize the enormous music assets of local and national public radio.

“From the start, music in all forms has been a cornerstone of public radio. NPR, public radio producers and our station colleagues are recognized as important music presenters and curators for the public, wherever they are,” said Ken Stern, Executive Vice President, NPR. “While this role began with traditional program broadcasts, we have pioneered innovations - independently and collaboratively - including a modular music production and acquisition program service, NPR Music online, live streaming concerts, podcasts and, most recently, digital radio multicast channels. The digital music discovery arena is a new and barely-explored one, and a logical place for NPR and the public radio system to take a leadership role.”

The centerpiece of the digital music service will be a supersite pooling the public radio system’s collective resources, enabling users to learn and explore, creating communities and offering exposure for emerging and non-mainstream artists. It will encompass all music forms - including classical, jazz, folk, opera, AAA, electronica and alternative - reflecting the breadth of genres and tastes already offered to users of the 815 public radio stations around the country and their partner websites.

NPR’s ongoing music activities cover every genre and platform, often concurrently. The All Songs Considered franchise, which began as an extension of the music content on the top-rated daily news magazine All Things Considered, developed into an online-only program, a podcast that ranks among iTunes’ “Most Downloaded” and a series of branded live concerts available for live and archive streaming and various downloads and podcasts. In Fall 2005, NPR launched five 24/7 music channels for HD radio multicasting, which are already airing on an experimental basis across the country; their formats are classical, folk, jazz, electronica and AAA. In addition to its 35-year broadcast archive, NPR annually offers more than 600 music segments on its news programming, 1000 hours of music programs on broadcast radio, 1400 performance acquisitions for broadcast and online distribution and more than 200 hours of music content. It also currently features 10 music-themed podcasts.


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