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CDNow silences affiliate program

Online music retailer CDNow will discontinue its affiliate program and instead direct people to giant e-tailer Amazon.com, a company representative has confirmed.

Online music retailer CDNow will discontinue its affiliate program and instead direct people to giant e-tailer Amazon.com, a company representative confirmed.

The strategy change is part of an agreement that the music retailer's parent company Bertelsmann and CDNow plan to unveil in the coming weeks.

A Bertelsmann representative declined to elaborate on the terms of the deal, but maintained that the German media giant has not sold the retail site to Amazon.

"CDNow remains a part of BeMusic," Bertelsmann spokeswoman Melinda Meals said. BeMusic, a division of Bertelsmann, sells music directly to consumers.

Many online retailers have used affiliate programs as marketing tools. An affiliate hosts a retailer's link on its Web page. That retailer pays the affiliate a certain fee every time a surfer clicks on the link or buys merchandise from the linked site.

Affiliates will have until Dec. 3 to remove links and all references to CDNow.

Meals declined to comment on a report in music industry magazine Billboard speculating that Amazon would take over some of the back-end operations in running CDNow.

An Amazon representative confirmed that the company had reached an agreement with CDNow, but she declined to offer additional details.