• Jun 27, 2007
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  • ACCESS INDUSTRIES AND MAJOR MUSIC LABELS TO FORM A NEW DIGITAL OPERATION TO BE KNOWN AS DIGITAL ACCESS

DIGITAL ACCESS TO FACILITATE DISTRIBTUTION OF MUSIC CONTENT TO DIGITAL SERVICE PROVIDERS (DSP) AND MOBILE OPERATORS AND THE CIS

Leading industrial group, Access Industries, today announced the formation of DIGITAL ACCESS, in association with recorded music companies Warner Music Group Corp. (NYSE: WMG), SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT, and Russian music labels Soyuz and Nikitin Records.

DIGITAL ACCESS will facilitate the wholesale distribution of a wide range of local and international music products to Russia and CIS.

DIGITAL ACCESS content will include full-track audio downloads, ringtones, ring-back tones, video clips and full color images.

DIGITAL ACCESS will serve rights owners, content providers, mobile operators and on-line stores.

DIGITAL ACCESS will be headquartered in Moscow. The venture will commence operations in the fall of 2007.

CEO of Access Industries, Lincoln Benet, said, “With DIGITAL ACCESS, we look forward to accelerating the digital revolution in Russia and CIS with our music partners, providing the wholesale platform of choice for mobile and digital providers. We feel Access Industries brings valuable market expertise to the new venture.”

Alexander Vaisblat is appointed General Director. Vaisblat joins DIGITAL ACCESS with a strong background in sales, product development and general management, gained in the television sector. Previous roles include a post at Independent Network Television Holding (TV3 Russia), where he made a significant contribution to growth.

Alexander Vaisblat said, “I feel extremely fortunate to be joining this synergy of respected investment and digital music professionals at the launching stage of DIGITAL ACCESS. I am looking forward to taking up responsibility for maximizing the opportunities arising from the inevitable transition to digital entertainment that is occurring in Russia and the CIS.”

Patrick Vien, Chairman and CEO, Warner Music International, commented, “This is a strategic investment that we believe will play a pivotal role in unlocking the potential of the dynamic Russian music market. By bringing together first-class global and local content, we are creating a one-stop shop for those DSP’s and mobile operators who value excellence, and ease of interface. We see this as a transformational initiative that will help digital and mobile partners deliver the highest-quality music experience to their customers.”

Oleg Tumanov – DIGITAL ACCESS Chairman of the Board said, “DIGITAL ACCESS is committed to providing the highest-quality technology solution. We are very excited about a unique opportunity with our reputable and experienced international shareholders to establish relations with all market participants interested in developing a legitimate digital content market in Russia and the CIS and shape its new quality standards and business models of the future.”

Denis Komarovsky, Managing Director, SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT Russia said, “We are delighted to participate in the launch of this venture. We look forward to providing our artists with an even broader platform in this important region and enhancing our ability to expand our digital business offerings, as well as to playing an active role in the overall growth and development of the legitimate digital music market in Russia and the CIS.”

Alexander Menn, Chairman, Soyuz, said, “We are pleased to participate in DIGITAL ACCESS for the many digital distribution channels it will open up for us, enhancing our ability to sell our extensive database of music tracks through new outlets.”

Alexey Nikitin, General Manager, Nikitin records, said, “The launch of this venture benefits not only record labels and music publishers but above all Russian composers and artists.”

Notes to Editors

The initial offering will be music from the Warner Music Group and SONY BMG catalogues, alongside content from leading Russian labels Soyuz and Nikitin Records. DIGITAL ACCESS plans to aggregate material from other content providers.

Russia has rapidly emerged as an exciting growth market for digital music services. Already the world’s third-largest mobile market with around 125m handsets in use, major operators in Russia are increasingly looking to added-value services such as music to increase ARPU. It is estimated that the value of recorded music sales via mobile grew by around 25% in 2006 to over $400m, exceeding the value of physical sales. Despite the operation of high-profile illegal downloading sites in this region, there is also encouraging growth of legal online music services – a legitimate digital downloading sector is taking root with around 20m Russian consumers now buying digital tracks from online retailers*.

* Sourced from Music & Copyright, February 2007

About Access Industries

Access Industries has a proven track record of investing, building and developing businesses in Russia, including Amedia, Russia’s largest television series producer. Founded in 1986 by its Chairman and President Len Blavatnik, Access Industries is a privately held, U.S.-based industrial group with long-term holdings worldwide. Access’ industrial focus spans three sectors: natural resources and chemicals; telecommunications and media; and real estate. Len Blavatnik is a director of Warner Music Group Corp.

About SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT

SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT is a global recorded music joint venture with a roster of current artists that includes a broad array of both local artists and international superstars, as well as a vast catalog that comprises some of the most important recordings in history. SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT is 50% owned by Bertelsmann A.G. and 50% owned by Sony Corporation of America.

About Warner Music Group

Warner Music Group became the only stand-alone music company to be publicly traded in the United States in May 2005. With its broad roster of new stars and legendary artists, Warner Music Group is home to a collection of the best-known record labels in the music industry including Asylum, Atlantic, Bad Boy, Cordless, East West, Elektra, Lava, Maverick, Nonesuch, Perfect Game, Reprise, Rhino, Roadrunner, Rykodisc, Sire, Warner Bros. and Word. Warner Music International, a leading company in national and international repertoire, operates through numerous international affiliates and licensees in more than 50 countries. Warner Music Group also includes Warner/Chappell Music, one of the world’s leading music publishers.

For more information about Warner Music Group, visit our corporate website at www.wmg.com

For further information, please contact:

Access Industries UK Press Contact:

John Stonborough FCIPR

Tel: +44 7771 893 683

Access Industries USA:

Peter Thoren.

Tel: +1 212 247 6400

SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT:

John McKay
Tel: +1 212 833 5520

John.mckay@sonybmg.com

Warner Music Group:

Mel Fox

Tel: +44 207 368 2828

Email: mel.fox@warnermusic.com

James Steven

Tel: +44 207 268 2572

Email: james.steven@warnermusic.com

 

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