PluggedIn turns its power on

Music site launches today with backing from majors

PluggedIn, a Web site focused on music videos and other music offerings, is expected to launch today in public beta with partnerships with Sony BMG, Universal Music Group and EMI and an investment from Will Smith's Overbrook Entertainment.

The site,, will launch with more than 10,000 music videos in a player with high-definition capabilities and more than 1 million artist profiles. It also will allow users to create their own profiles and create playlists.

PluggedIn and "strategic partner" Overbrook, of which producer James Lassiter ("I Am Legend") and former CAA agent Ken Stovitz also are principals, already have committed a combined $2 million. PluggedIn CEO Jeff Somers said the company will be "actively raising a bigger (financing) round shortly after launch."

The company has licensing and advertising revenue-sharing agreements with all the major labels except Warner Music Group. Somers said his company is in discussions with WMG about a partnership and he is "very hopeful that they'll come on board."

A WMG spokesman declined comment, but a source close to the company confirmed the talks.

PluggedIn users also will be able to purchase music, tickets and merchandise on the site through such third-party vendors as Amazon (where Somers used to work) and eBay. PluggedIn will share revenue from these purchases and also will monetize the site through advertising and sponsorships.

Although music videos are a popular attraction on Google's YouTube, PluggedIn with its varied components and social networking features could find itself competing more with the recently announced MySpace Music, which should roll out during the next several months.

Somers declined comment on specific similarities and differences between his site and the music offering of the News Corp. social networking giant, but he noted "the biggest difference is we're launching Wednesday."