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Wednesday, October 20, 1999 Published at 09:49 GMT 10:49 UK


Business: The Company File

Photo-Me trials CD kiosks

People will able to customise their own cds

Music fans will be able to make their own CDs in kiosks from early next year.

UK company Photo-Me International plans to open ten booths in London and New York as part of a trial with US company musicmaker.com, an internet provider of licensed music.

Five kiosks will be sited in the US by 15 January and a further five in Europe by 15 February, Photo-Me said.

Customers will be able to compile their own CDs from a choice of betweem 5,000 and 10,000 songs in musicmaker.com's library.

"If both parties agree that the test is successful, it is envisaged that some 5,000 kiosks could be rolled out in a short timescale, with Photo-Me responsible for design, manufacture and installation," Photo-Me said.

Photo-Me also has plans for the US, where it will make standalone MP3 stations - which allow individual tracks and albums to be downloaded from the internet - for musicmaker.com.

Photo-Me's fortunes

The joint venture is the latest in Photo-Me's moves to revitalise the traditional photobooth, boosting their own profits at the same time.

Already, the UK operator aims to bring the internet to the UK's high streets and train stations.

The group believes that the internet could double the revenue of conventional booths and this belief has helped support its share price.

About 1,000 multimedia booths are to open from Spring 2000.

In the year to April, Photo-Me posted a 32% jump in profits to £20m. The strong results are widely attributed to the company's embrace of new technology, which is expected to continue to support profits.



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