EA to create full-service music company

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Video game publisher Electronic Arts Inc. announced Monday the creation of a full-service music label in a joint venture with Nettwerk One Music Ltd.

The Artwerk label will sign and develop both new and established artists for publishing and recording deals. It's soliciting talent in part through a Web site where musicians can submit digital tracks.

The Los Angeles-based company will provide digital and physical distribution. It will sell music via Apple Inc.'s iTunes, RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody, eMusic and other venues, and it will try to ink deals to put musicians' works in movies, TV shows and video games.

Although Artwerk is not focusing exclusively on music for video games, the first signed artist is Junkie XL, whose tracks appeared in EA's top-selling games "Madden NFL 07" and "Need for Speed: Carbon." Artwerk says it is in negotiations with other artists.

The new label comes as Redwood City-based EA and other companies develop increasingly sophisticated sound tracks for video games, which can cost as much as some Hollywood movies to produce. Artwerk allows EA to expand the investment it's made in music studios well beyond computer games.

"It is time for the music industry to shake things up, break out new bands and find new ways to expose them on a global scale," said Terry McBride, CEO of the Vancouver-based Nettwerk One Music, a music publisher.
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