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Southport Reporter® covering the news on Merseyside.

Date:- 6 February 2006

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MADONNA set to be first exclusive ‘Featured Artist’ on new online retail store.  In a first-of-its-kind agreement between a major music company and the leading Internet communications company, Warner Music Group Corp. (NYSE: WMG) last week announced it will make available master recordings from WMG’s roster of world-renowned recording artists as ringtones to the more than 74 million registered users of Skype, who benefit from unlimited voice and video calls for free over the Internet.

In the coming months, consumers will be able to download master ringtones from WMG artists including Madonna, Green Day, Mike Jones, Paul Wall, D4L, T.I., and many more to Skype’s leading Internet calling service for play back when Skype users receive incoming calls.

Always at the forefront of musical trends, Madonna will be the sole artist to headline the ‘Featured Artist’ section of the Skype online retail store upon its launch. In addition, Skype’s online retail store ( will feature master ringtones of “Hung Up,” “Push” and “Sorry,” the eagerly anticipated new single from Madonna’s latest multi-platinum album, Confessions on a Dance Floor, as well as past Madonna hits “Like A Virgin,” “Vogue” and more.

Skype’s “Featured Artist Program” will showcase content from a single artist and will include a direct link to an artist-branded page where ringtones can be purchased.

“Warner Music Group is pleased to partner with Skype as they launch the first music personalization products in the Internet voice calling category.  We are excited that more than 74 million Skype users around the world will now have the ability to enjoy content from Warner Music Group artists. Furthermore, this agreement exemplifies our commitment to finding new ways our artists’ music can be experienced across emerging platforms and distribution channels."  said Alex Zubillaga, Executive Vice President, Digital Strategy and Business Development at Warner Music Group.

"As Skype continues to grow as a mass market phenomena we are excited to partner with industry leaders in the entertainment industry like Warner Music, to offer great content from artists, such as Madonna, to Skype’s fast growing global user base”, said Saul Klein, Vice President Worldwide Marketing, Skype.

The Skype retail store is expected to eventually expand to include ringback tones and other music-based personalization content from WMG artists.

Warrington leads the way on e-auctions

LOCAL authorities came together in Warrington for an online reverse e-auction to purchase goods at advantageous prices.  The Council spearheaded the initiative, which took place on Monday 30 January at the Town Hall, to enable the authorities taking part to purchase green-wheeled bins at advantageous prices.

Those authorities involved were:-

Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
Eden District Council
Liverpool City Council
North Warwickshire Borough Council
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council
Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

As part of a reverse e-auction, suppliers put items up for auction and buyers then submit bids until the lowest price is reached. The supplier who 'wins' the auction has agreed to provide the service or product to the buyer at the lowest price bid.  The use of an e-auction is an innovation in the way the Council purchases goods. It is looked upon nationally as an example of good practice,  an innovative approach to buying basic items.

Cllr John Morris, Executive Board Member for Resources and who opened the event, said:- "Warrington, along with other councils and organisations, is always striving to improve its organisational efficiency. Smarter procurement and procuring collaboratively with other partners to achieve better prices and savings on the vast range of goods we purchase is key part of the Council's drive for organisational efficiency."

Yvonne Bottomley, Strategic Director for Corporate Services, said:- "The Council has an impressive track record of partnership working and the event today is a further example of innovative and cutting edge partnership working by the Council and its partners.  A simple item like a wheeled bin is a vital tool in delivering Council services and is an area of potentially high spend where substantial savings could be made. We are spearheading a consortium of local authorities across the North West and West Midlands that demonstrates a real commitment to collaborative working."


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