Ticketing giant buys 25% of music site

From the Associated Press

Ticketmaster has bought a 25% stake in music-oriented networking website ILike.com in an effort to generate exposure among fans of independent music for the ticket-selling giant.

West Hollywood-based Ticketmaster invested $13.3 million in ILike.com and signed a commercial agreement that allowed it to reach ILike users through features on the site, both companies said late Tuesday. Details were not disclosed.

Seattle-based ILike enables users to share music recommendations and discover new artists through its website and optional add-ons compatible with Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes and News Corp.'s MySpace.

"With our investment in ILike.com, we look forward to a series of integrations that will introduce live events and ticket-purchase opportunities within the ILike music discovery process," Sean Moriarty, Ticketmaster president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. Under the deal, Moriarty joins ILike's board of directors.

ILike is an offshoot of GarageBand.com, another site devoted to providing independent artists a forum to attract listeners and recording contracts.

The deal aims to expose Ticketmaster customers to new music while giving ILike users information on upcoming concerts, ILike executives said.

"Closing the gap between the online music experience and the real-world concert experience will benefit both consumers and artists," GarageBand.com CEO Ali Partovi said.

Shares of IAC/InterActiveCorp, Ticketmaster's parent, fell 5 cents Wednesday to $36.44. The stock fell nearly 4% on Tuesday after the company said it planned to invest $250 million in its businesses in 2007 and said some margins could be compressed in the near term.

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