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From... lets users store their music online


January 12, 2000
Web posted at: 11:45 a.m. EST (1645 GMT)

by Mary Lisbeth D'Amico

(IDG) -- Online music provider today said it has enhanced its site with a new service that lets users store and then listen to their own CDs whenever they are connected to the Internet.

Now available for free testing, the company's service now has features that allow users to store CDs as digital music files in their online accounts, the company said in a statement.

Users can listen to the stored files either from a PC or from a wireless Internet device such as a mobile phone or other connected handhelds.
MP3: The New Wave

A feature called Instant Listening lets users who purchase CDs from participating online retailers immediately store and then listen to the CDs in an Internet-based account, according to the statement. The participating music "e-tailers" are, and
The recording industry will no doubt be concerned that will hold copyrighted material, and users could conceivably share accounts in order to listen to music they haven't paid for. However,'s service has a couple of safeguards to protect against piracy. First, only one user can access the account at one time. This makes it considerably less piracy-friendly than an FTP account, which can hold hundreds of simultaneous users. Also, the music is streamed to your home computer so you can listen to it, but you never have a stored copy. This is a protection feature that RealNetworks already uses, so it's more difficult to redistributed the music. From CNN staff reports

Another feature, called Beam-it, lets users do the same things with CDs they already own. Users download the appropriate software, then put their CD into their PC, where the music is automatically uploaded and then stored as a digital music file in their MP3 account.

Beam-it uses software that also verifies the identity of the user, said. Users can then customize play lists of the tunes they store in their account.

The recording industry is less than happy with the current state of online music distribution. However, MP3 sees its move as boosting CD sales, as users store files of CDs they have already purchased. It called the move an attempt to "bridge the interests of artists, recording labels and consumers."'s Web site contains 250,000 songs from more than 40,000 artists that users already download for listening to on their PCs or in MP3 players.

Mary Lisbeth D'Amico is Munich correspondent for the IDG News Service.

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