Music Choice, Fantastic Corp. Sign Deal for Europe

More European music lovers will soon be able to enjoy the offerings of Music Choice, a leading provider of audio and data services. Zug, Switzerland-based The Fantastic Corporation announced an agreement October 28 with Music Choice that will expand the musical options for computer-equipped music fans in Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and other countries.

Music Choice Europe is a digital audio service operated as a joint venture by Sony, Warner, EMI, AEI Music, BskyB, and General Instrument. The service offers as many as 50 genre-specific channels of commercial-free music programming to cable and satellite operators, and currently has half a million European subscribers.

The Fantastic Corporation is a broadband multimedia technology company whose clients include British Telecom, Deutsche Telekom, Telecom Italia, and Astra-Net. PC users will be able to access Music Choice via cable modem, ADSL, or digital satellite links.

The announcement was accompanied by a reference to research showing "a strong correlation between home PC usage and music listening." In Europe, as in North America, many home PC users already listen to music via their computers, using CD-ROM drives or Internet sources. Music sales are a rapid-growth area in e-commerce---as evidenced by's recent move into the number-one spot in online music retailing.

Music Choice Europe's broadband delivery is said to ensure "high-quality audio reception, equivalent to FM radio or a CD." Computers running the service, which goes 'round the clock, can display onscreen information for specific music tracks, including artist, song title, the album from which it's taken, and record-label details.

In addition to serving casual music lovers, Music Choice has options for commercial and corporate customers. "Music Choice Broadcast Objects will be offered as an 'off the shelf' solution for corporate customers," said Lars Tvede, Senior Vice President for The Fantastic Corporation. Broadcast Objects are "standalone packages that can be inserted into private broadcast networks such as corporate satellite extranets."

"The Fantastic Corporation's software platform is ideal for combining streaming media with the possibility to transact via the Internet," said Simon Balzalgetter, Director of Sales and Marketing for Music Choice. "We are very impressed with what they enable us to do, and look forward to launching our channel over their platform."

The Fantastic Corporation was founded in early 1996 to provide Internet Protocol-based broadcasting software for high-speed, broadband distribution of multimedia to PCs and set-top boxes. The company has regional offices in Lugano, New York, London, Paris, Hamburg, and Singapore.