Jun 01, 1999
America Online Acquires Leading Internet Music Brands -- Spinner.Com, Winamp and SHOUTcastDULLES, VA, June 1, 1999 -- America Online, Inc. (NYSE: AOL), the world leader in branded interactive services, today announced that it has acquired two leaders in Internet music -- Spinner Networks, Inc. and Nullsoft, Inc., developer of the Winamp and SHOUTcast brands. The Company said that these acquisitions will extend its leadership in Internet music both now and into the future by making next-generation music features available to consumers of all its brands, providing a wide range of new audio and other applications and functionality to its partners, and helping to develop key music capabilities for AOL Anywhere devices and broadband initiatives in the future. The Company said it will use the Spinner and Nullsoft technologies and programming to enable consumers to play all leading formats of Internet music. In addition to building the Spinner, Winamp and SHOUTcast brands, America Online will also create custom-branded music services for the AOL, AOL.COM, CompuServe, Netcenter and ICQ brands, and offer live and Internet-only radio, sporting and other public events, and downloadable music, along with directory, search, commerce, and community features. Spinner Networks's leading Internet music service, Spinner.com, attracts 1.5 million unique users monthly and strong daytime at-work usage. It broadcasts 2 million songs daily, with user sessions averaging 91 minutes and totaling 31 million monthly. Spinner.com's content includes over 175,000 songs supplied by over 350 labels, and its music players display song information as music is played, while providing dynamic links that enable real-time listener feedback and instant ordering of the music being played. Nullsoft is the developer of Winamp, the leading branded MP3 player for Windows, and SHOUTcast, an MP3 streaming audio system. With 15 million total downloads, Winamp has an installed base of 5 million users and is the #2 most popular application on Download.com after ICQ, averaging more than 43,000 downloads daily. Today, two-thirds of Winamp users are under the age of 26, with one-third based outside of the U.S. The SHOUTcast streaming audio system enables individuals to broadcast their own content over the Internet, key to building communities around music. Bob Pittman, President and Chief Operating Officer of AOL, said: "Combining these leading Internet music brands with the audience reach of our brands will lift music online to the next level of popularity. We plan to build downloadable music, Internet radio and overall music features into each of our brands, as well as customize them for the audience and partners of each of our brands. We especially welcome these companies' strong management, technology and programming teams, who will be key to the development of our next-generation music features for our existing brands, AOL Anywhere devices, and other broadband initiatives." Ted Leonsis, President of AOL Interactive Properties, said: "The innovative Spinner and Nullsoft teams will help us develop new tools to make our partners' music and other audio offerings even more compelling and build the mass market audience. These acquisitions establish our leadership in Internet music, and we expect to extend this leadership through additional partnerships in the future. As faster speeds through broadband emerge, high-quality music will become an increasingly attractive application that will help drive the further growth of broadband. We believe that Internet music will grow new communities and help consumers fully embrace the convenience of buying music online as we move into a more connected society." David Samuel, Spinner's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said: "Spinner could not have found a better home to develop its proprietary music products, which take advantage of RealAudio technology. It will make our music offerings even stronger. We look forward to working with our new America Online colleagues to put the power of their distribution and resources behind our service and reach millions of new online music fans." Nullsoft Founder and President Justin Frankel said: "Working with America Online will let us globally extend the use of our technologies through its Internet brands. In addition, having access to America Online's tremendous resources and infrastructure will let focus our efforts on what's really important: Making cool software." The tax-free, stock-for-stock, pooling-of-interests transactions are valued at approximately $400 million. Founded in 1996, Spinner will remain based in San Francisco, CA. Nullsoft was founded in 1997 and will move its operations from Sedona, AZ to San Francisco as the two teams merge.