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I Want My MP3!


This week I'm launching MP3tunes where every song is in ultra-high quality MP3 format. It's a MP3 store where you can own the music - not rent it - so you decide which portable player or software program you want to use. And everything you purchase is stored in your permanent music locker! I hope you'll try it out and support a few of the bands by buying some songs. Be sure and post to the forum any good bands or tracks you uncover. I'll share some of my favorites in the coming weeks.


For those of you who haven't yet heard about this new online music company, I sent out two different press releases over the last two weeks outlining the details of MP3tunes. Rather than go into all the details about this new enterprise, you can take a look at the two press releases here. This week, I thought I'd share something a little different with the Michael's Minute readers so you could get some insight that others won't get from reading just the press releases alone.

Take a look at the "old" MP3.com

As most of you know, I was the founder and original CEO of MP3.com. I sold it a few years back, and since that time it has changed a few times - so much so that it's not even recognizable today from the site when I left. I miss the "old" MP3.com. I thought I'd share with you the eight things I miss most about MP3.com, AND what I'd like to try and make happen to remedy this void.

The eight things I miss most about the "old" MP3.com

1. MP3.com was THE resource for looking up a band
At its peak, MP3.com had over 250,000 artists on the site. Each artist had total control over just about everything: graphics, colors, songs to sell, songs to give away, how much to charge, CD art, bios, tour info, and on and on. However, there was also just enough uniformity and consistency between each artist's page, that it made it easy for music fans to find what they were looking for very quickly. MP3.com did such a great job of offering tools to artists, that pretty much every band (from small to big) had a "home" on MP3.com.
They could even customize their "express URLs" and many used this as their calling card to fans and industry insiders. MP3.com became such a wonderful resource, that I've even had major record label executives recently tell me how much they miss having that one-stop site to learn about a band.

2. The traffic from music fans
Because all the bands were on MP3.com, all the music fans came there as well. We had millions of people visit MP3.com every week. The more bands we attracted, the more fans came, which in turn attracted more bands. The combined flow of content from the bands and the fans, made MP3.com a very interesting place to hang out. Since I left MP3.com, I have not really seen another site recapture that networking effect. There really isn't that ONE definitive place to go to learn about bands and listen to their music anymore - now you have to visit several different, smaller sites.

Take a look at the wide variety of music you could find on MP3.com

3. The huge volume of music
There were over 1,000,000 songs that could be sampled, purchased or even downloaded for free at MP3
.com. Much of the music wasn't available anywhere else and created a massively eclectic mix of music, from the ridiculous to the sublime. To give you some idea how much music was on MP3.com, if someone listened to the music there for 8 hours a day, every day of the year, it would take them over 32 years to listen to each song just one time! I miss having such a wonderful collection of all sorts of different music right at my fingertips, so much music you could get lost in it.

4. Awesome one-click streaming and download technology
At MP3.com, we had brilliant engineers that created an amazing infrastructure of computers and software
[all built on Linux servers I might add ;-) ] that provided the listener with an unparalleled listening experience. When you clicked on a play button....WHAM! the music started playing. We also pioneered streaming and downloading technology that I still haven't found replicated as well on most other music sites.

5. Free
A lot of the music was free to stream and download on MP3.com. We left it entirely up to the artists to determine how much of their music they wanted to give away, and how much they wanted to sell and at what price. Many artists wisely chose to share a few songs for free, helping fans discover their band and encourage them to buy more of their music. Artists should take no shame in charging a fair price for their talents, but offering a song or two from each CD for free is a wise way to promote your band (can you say "radio"?)

6. No DRM
I'm very proud to say that of the 1,000,000-plus songs that were offered while I was at MP3.com, not a single one used digital rights management (DRM). Apple, Microsoft, the major record labels, and others, penalize legitimate customers by selling a pair of handcuffs with each song or CD they sell. Songs in the MP3 format are the most flexible for consumers, as they work with the widest array of software players as well as virtually any digital player or computer. MP3 files allow the freedom of CD burning and downloading to an unlimited number of computers without restrictions or additional fees. At MP3.com, we believed you should be able to BUY music, not be forced to rent it!

7. Charts and Stations
Because MP3.com had so much music and so many new, unfamiliar bands, it was important to have ways to find the music you'd like. We never forced one particular style of music or one group of artists on our visitors, we let the charts do the talking. Browsing the charts was a great way to sample and find new music. MP3.com "stations" were basically playlists created by other music fans. They were also a great way to find new music. From any artist page you could view a list of all the stations that included music from that artist. Chances are if the station included an artist you liked, there would probably be many other artists on that station you'd also like, but may have not been familiar with. I used to spend hours and hours finding great new music using the MP3.com charts and stations, and I miss that!

8. Artist community
And finally, I missed the way artists and music fans got to interact together on MP3.com through forums and email. Because so many of the artists were active in the community there, it created a real connection between artists and their fans. This too I have not seen replicated as fully as what we experienced on MP3.com.

Learn more about MP3tunes

With our launch of MP3tunes, we don't have most of the above items...yet! But I have a long memory for these wonderful features. I'm anxious to help MP3tunes grow and expand in many of these same, interesting ways as I did at MP3.com. The web site that I think has come the closest to capturing some of the spirit of MP3.com (even surpassing it in some ways with artists) is CD Baby. I'm very proud and excited to be working closely with CD Baby and their artists as we set out with MP3tunes.com.

As with Linspire and desktop Linux, I'm excited to, once again, be offering more choice to consumers, not just with their computer, but also with their music.

- Michael

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