European Space Agency

Abaris sets the standard for music e-commerce


Recent successfully completed trials of ABARIS, for the digital distribution of music products, enabled trial participants to download CD quality music from the project electronic store via a conventional TV satellite dish and PC, directly into their homes. ABARIS was conceived as a means of enabling record companies to explore broadband communications business models of the future, today.

100 times faster than conventional downloading of music files via a terrestrial Internet system, the high bandwidth ABARIS model can also be applied to selling of video, computer games and software products.

Partially funded in the frame of the European Space Agency''s ARTES 3 programme, dedicated to satellite multimedia, the ABARIS project involved a team composed of new media, satellite and record companies including Avanti Communications (UK), Astra-Net, CRL, NRG and V2 Records.

The conception of ABARIS was timely as e-commerce has the potential to change the face of the music industry, creating opportunities for giving the consumer much more than just CD''s, for example music ''previews'' and multimedia magazines. While many e-commerce organisations claim to ''sell'' over the Internet, in reality, most only process orders.

Satellite multicasting offers providers of digital content, be it video, audio, software or multimedia files, the ability to deliver high bandwidth content directly, linking content providers with consumers. Within the ABARIS project, a great emphasis was given to the issue of controlling music copyright, to safeguard against online music piracy (a major inhibitor of e-sales of music), providing a secure distribution environment over a satellite communications link and secure licensing of the tracks at the far end.

The commercial potential of ABARIS has quickly been recognised, and Avanti are currently negotiating with a number of venture capital companies ways of taking the project forward. For more detailed information on the ABARIS system architecture, please see the linked ARTES 3 project page..

Event Date

08 August 2000
Published 28 July 2003
Last updated at 28 July 2003 - 00:00