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Industry Standard

MP3 is Web's newest craze

Market trials can't stop MP3 blitz

February 10, 1999
Web posted at: 1:29 p.m. EST (1829 GMT)

by Lessley Anderson

(IDG) -- Forget portal. Forget community. Forget e-tailing. MP3 is officially the hippest craze on the Web. Despite the supreme disapproval of major record labels, represented by the Recording Industry Association of America, Net companies are falling over themselves to embrace the format any way they can. Lycos did it last week when it launched a search engine that crawls the Web looking for MP3 files. But Lycos discovered that it's not easy to play the MP3 game: The RIAA turned the heat on and forced Lycos to promise it wouldn't link to any pirated MP3 files.

The Big Labels Represented by RIAA (
Bertelsmann's BMG
Sony Music
Seagram's Universal
Warner Music Group
To combat MP3, the RIAA touts the development of a secure standard through the Secure Digital Music Distribution Initiative. The RIAA hasn't moved quickly enough for most people's taste, so many companies have struck out on their own to cash in on the MP3 frenzy. "We have communicated with Lycos about their new MP3 search engine, and they have committed to work with us to develop procedures to eliminate infringing sites from their directory." - RIAA
Indie Labels
Rykodisc Has made 200 tracks available for purchase on GoodNoise's site. "They're willing to take the risk of friction with the distribution channel." - GoodNoise's Steve Grady
Spin Art Aggressively sells its entire catalog through GoodNoise
via MP3.
"We were the frst and only label to offer our entire catalog
in MP3." - Cofounder Jeff Price
Platinum Uses Liquid Audio to sell tracks, but did free promos through MP3. "Their use of MP3 as promo on their site got them 1 million
hits in November 1998 alone."
- GoodNoise's Steve Grady
Excite Offers nothing yet. Not available.
Lycos Has an MP3 news and search engine Lycos officially vows that it will not link to pirated material.
Yahoo Offers nothing yet, but community members of newly acquired GeoCities claim it kills MP3 fles on homepages. "We love MP3." - Bruce Zanca, GeoCities spokesperson
Go Offers nothing yet. Not available.
Liquid Audio Formed the Genuine Music Coalition to offer the Genuine Music Mark, a tag that allows listeners to tell whether an MP3 fle came from the copyright holder or was pirated. "MP3 is out of the prenatal stage, and consumers are embracing it. We think people will be attracted to using Liquid Audio's architecture." - Gerry Kirby, CEO
AT&T's a2b Has an MP3 announcement in the works. "We're watching the MP3 space with great interest."
- Larry Miller, COO
IBM's Madison Project Offers nothing yet. Not available.
Online Retail Offers nothing yet, but plans are in the works. "We're very interested in MP3."
- spokesperson
CDnow/N2K Currently working with Liquid Audio. Doesn't rule out
future MP3 moves.
"We're moving aggressively yet responsibly into this space. We'll go with the RIAA." - Jon Diamond, N2K's acting CEO
Diamond Makes the Rio portable MP3 player. "A lot of other players have been announced but don't ship because they're afraid of the RIAA." - Ken Wirt, marketing VP
GoodNoise Offers MP3 downloads to consumers and online
distribution to indie labels.
"Anything that takes away Fexibility is bad for the consumer." - Steve Grady, VP of corporate communications Provides MP3 downloads on MP3 developments. "Our technology is designed to be secure, yet compatible with MP3." - Arnold Brown, CEO
AudioExplosion Creates technologies to make MP3 more secure. "Security hurts more than it helps." - Michael Robertson, CEO
The Bands
Billy Idol Sold two MP3 singles, "Find a Way" and "Sleeping With an Angel," on the site, but Capitol removed them. "The Grinch Stole Christmas. Have a Happy Freakin' Holiday anyway!" - Idol spokesperson, as reported on
Beastie Boys Offered live promo MP3 tracks on the Beastie Boys Web site. They were removed, because of heat from Capitol. "Their content has gone back and forth, gone up and come down." - Michael Robertson,'s CEO
Frank Black Offered a MP3 version of Frank Black and the Catholics. "Frank's been selling very well." - GoodNoise's Steve Grady

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