MEDIA: UBM thrusts dotmusic back into limelight

United Business Media (UBM) is to use its consumer website, dotmusic, to kick-start its B2B online music operation.

It is a turnaround for UBM, which attached a 'for sale' sign to dotmusic seven months ago.

Steve Redmond, group director of music, said: 'It became clear it wasn't the best time to be selling a website. You do reach a point where you say, "Actually, this doesn't make sense anymore." Dotmusic is the gatekeeper to the music consumer online and that is a valuable position.'

Responsibility for dotmusic has been shifted into the Music Week group, part of UBM's CMPi division, which contains trade titles Music Business International, Phono and Music Week itself. UBM is banking on the trade title following dot-music's model to produce, containing both free and paid-for content.

When dotmusic launched in August 1995, it was intended to be the online version of Music Week.

But it quickly became apparent that its focus should be on the consumer rather than trade, since the B2B online market was then tiny. 'Record companies were among the slowest to get internet access,' Redmond said.

Music Week will use dotmusic's technological infrastructure and some personnel, and expects subscription services to start in 2002. UBM insisted dotmusic's content would remain unchanged.

It has been a mixed couple of weeks for internet music offerings. Emap, despite a well-publicised decision in March to restrict its online activities, has launched to partner its clubbing magazine.

But Chrysalis is looking to reduce or sell its 35 per cent stake in music site, darkerthanblue, and Worldpop, which launched as a pop music news portal for teenagers, has repositioned itself as a text messaging and e-mail content site.

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