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Rock music rolls online

JamTV Music Network, which aspires to be the most comprehensive Internet resource for popular music entertainment and information, will launch March 31.

A new Web site called JamTV Music Network, which aspires to be "the most comprehensive Internet resource" for popular music entertainment and information, plans to launch March 31.

The site, announced today at the Jupiter Communications Consumer Online Services conference in New York, will allow users to sit at their personal computers and hear musical recordings from their favorite artists, as well as "Webcasts" of live concerts and backstage interviews. The site also will sell videos, CDs, concert tickets, and merchandise. JamTV will be free and generate its revenue from advertising and the sale of branded merchandise.

The idea, said chief executive Howard Tullman, is for JamTV to become a large aggregate site, just like ESPN or CNN. Tullman thinks that search engines have outlived their usefulness and that the next step will be for Netizens to use the Web much like they use television--going to large sites where content already is aggregated.

"Search engines are history," Tullman said. "Consumers are going to move to the next generation on the Internet, and that will be mega-sites."

The site, rich in streaming audio and video, will operate on technology from Microsoft, Intel, and Compaq. The companies hope that the PC will compete with television as the cornerstone of home entertainment. (Intel is an investor in CNET.)

"The connected PC is a great platform for creating and delivering new forms of interactive entertainment and information on the Internet in a truly compelling way," said Claude Leglise, vice president of Intel's content group.

Leading record distributors, such as Columbia, Polygram, MCA, and BMG, also are supporting JamTV. The site plans promotional tie-ins with music stations across the country (WIPE, 88.1 FM was listed on the site today). JamTV's founder is Jam Productions of Chicago, the Midwest's largest concert promoter.

The site also lets users tap into the music archives at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and JamTV's nightclub talent buyer has a column on "bands to watch." Its start-up costs have been estimated at $2 million to $3 million.

JamTV will face intense competition. Online music sites are exploding, with almost 20,000 of them registered online. In addition, big players such as MTV and Yahoo are planning to enter the market. America Online and Rolling Stone also have teamed up to offer stories about music on the Net.