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Rowe Pacts Harry Fox And BMI To License Digital Jukebox Music

Posted On: 7/11/2004

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NASHVILLE, TN - Rowe International Corp. (Grand Rapids, MI), has reached agreements with The Harry Fox Agency and Broadcast Music Inc. to license songs for its secure digital jukebox network.

HFA represents more than 27,000 music publisher principals. The BMI accord gives the Rowe network access to approximately 4.5 million songs.

The pacts with HFA and BMI follow Rowe's establishment of a new business unit, AMI Entertainment, which focuses on digitized performances. The AMI name commemorates Automatic Musical Instruments, a manufacturer of player pianos founded in 1909 that became a pioneer jukebox developer, and merged with Rowe in 1959.

The formation of AMI Entertainment is part of a worldwide initiative to emphasize Rowe International's new direction and new look, new equipment and a fresh experience for its customers.

Hailing the agreement with HFA, Rowe president and chief executive officer Doug  Johnson said: "This agreement between two historical music companies marks another important step in the evolution of the music delivery system.

"We are very excited to be working with HFA to enable a secure digital jukebox network which will be able to host a vast selection of genres, from country to hip-hop, with the support of HFA's electronic licensing capabilities."

Gary Churgin, president and chief executive officer of The Harry Fox Agency, also lauded the pact. "We are pleased to be able to extend to our affiliated publishers this agreement with Rowe," he said. "Rowe, AMI and HFA go back to the days of the player piano, and this relationship is another example of how companies can transition their businesses to take advantage of the new opportunities that digital delivery brings."

HFA was formed by the National Music Publishers Association in 1927 to administer its mechanical licensing needs. Today, it also provides collection and monitoring services to its U.S. publisher clients for music distributed and sold in more than 75 market areas worldwide.

Rowe's Johnson reported that the BMI pact also is a major step forward for the AMI Entertainment unit. "Licensing the musical works of BMI's 300,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers gives us access to most of the world's favorite songs," he explained. "This is an essential element in our strategy to provide the best entertainment value to our customers, and maintain our dominant position in the jukebox industry."

"BMI is pleased to reach an agreement with Rowe International," said John Shaker, BMI's senior vice-president, licensing. "Digital jukeboxes provide consumers with a much larger selection of music, and consumers play more music on digital jukeboxes. This agreement between BMI and Rowe benefits business owners, copyright owners and consumers alike."

Licensing BMI's repertoire to Rowe will ensure accurate compensation of songwriters when their music is played on digital jukeboxes, added BMI vice-president of general licensing Tom Annastas. "The technology of digital boxes brings a higher level of copyright compliance to the jukebox industry, and reduces the administrative burden for Rowe, its operators, venue owners, and BMI," he pointed out.

The core of AMI Entertainment's business is a line of advanced digital jukeboxes, designed for use in standalone and Internet-connected applications. Rowe has designed its own client/server software to administer the content of networked jukeboxes that download music from a central library. At this writing, the Rowe digital platform has rolled out in Australia, Mexico, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Rowe International also manufactures digital downloading jukeboxes in the U.S. for Ecast.