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Sony Music to launch music hub

The company will join the ranks of media firms launching music hub sites with its new project, Uville.com, Sony Music executive Fred Ehrlich says.

NEW YORK--Sony Music is joining the ranks of media companies launching music hub sites.

The company's hub, to be called Uville.com, is scheduled to launch this fall, said Fred Ehrlich, Sony Music president of new technology and business development, during a panel discussion today at Jupiter Communications' Plug.In conference here.

A preliminary page is posted on the Web site now, saying simply: "Welcome to Uville. Music your way. Coming Fall 1999. Uville is the best way to connect the music you love with the way you live."

Ehrlich said the site will offer music news, reviews, and sales, though he said downloads won't be available until at least late fall, depending on a deal Sony struck in May with Microsoft in which they agreed to cross-promote each other's Net properties and online media events.

In addition, when the new version of the Windows Media Player is released, listeners will be able to download the player or upgrade an old one to hear music Sony Music is committing to the deal.

Sony Music is one of the "Big Five" record labels--along with Universal, EMI, BMG, and Warner--but Ehrlich said music from other companies will be available on Uville.com.

That strategy is similar to one being employed by Warner Bros. Online, in which entertainment content from other companies will be available on its upcoming Entertaindom hub site. That is undoubtedly one of the reasons for choosing a name such as Uville.com, which does not leverage Sony's name recognition.

Sony Music's music hub will enter a space that becomes more crowded each day, however. Uville.com will launch around the same time as Viacom's music hub site, with the working title the "Buggles Project." In addition, sites such as Tunes.com and Launch.com offer a wide array of music content.