University System of Maryland to Offer Legal Music Downloading Service

ADELPHI, Md. (March 6, 2006) – The University System of Maryland (USM) will offer students, faculty and staff at eight institutions the ability to legally download their favorite music to computers and portable music players. USM has entered into an agreement with Cdigix, a leading provider of legal digital entertainment.

Cdigix has a music library of two million songs, from major label artists to independent musicians. "Subscribers to this exciting and affordable new service can easily listen to and download as many music files as they want via a 'tethered download,' which allows subscribers to access the downloaded tracks without permanently purchasing them," said Suresh Balakrishnan, USM assistant vice chancellor and deputy chief information officer. "If subscribers want to purchase and permanently download individual tracks or whole albums, they can do so for a nominal charge."

The monthly subscription rate for students is $2, which includes access to Cdigix's music library. Subscribers can purchase individual songs for 89 cents, or buy an entire digital album for $9.99.

"Cdigix had the right combination of compelling content and services, an excellent reputation within the university marketplace, and the marketing resources to help promote its services to students," said Peter Murray, vice president and chief information officer at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). Murray and Balakrishnan were the chief negotiators in bringing Cdigix to system campuses.

The music service, called Ctrax, was offered in the spring 2005 on a trial basis at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), where a student-led task force recommended it as a legal alternative to unlawful downloading. Ctrax continues to be offered at UMCP, where there are already a few thousand subscribers. "We have been impressed with Cdigix during its trial run at UMCP and now look forward to expanding its services to our other campuses," said Murray.

UMB, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, and Salisbury University are scheduled to offer the services by the end of March. Four other USM institutions will follow. Bowie State University, Coppin State University, Towson University, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County will begin offering services by late April.

"This was a collaborative USM effort. We were proud to have representation from most system institutions as part of the procurement process," said Balakrishnan. "We chose Cdigix for its breadth of digital media services as well as for its exclusive focus on the college and university market," said Donald Spicer, chief information officer, USM.

Larry Jacobson, chairman and CEO of Cdigix, said "By making a system-wide decision,USM has at once advanced the opportunity to offer students high quality, digital media services while at the same time mitigating the use of piracy on campus."

Contact: Liz O'Neill
Phone: 301.445.2719