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News > Companies
MP3.com faces the music
August 23, 2000: 6:14 p.m. ET

Despite legal-related losses, MP3.com's Richards is undeterred
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - MP3.com Inc., the Internet company dedicated to providing consumers with anytime, anywhere access to their music using any Web-enabled device, has had its share of legal battles.

The San Diego, California-based company's most recent settlement of a copyright infringement suit with Sony Music Entertainment was announced Monday, allowing MP3.com access to Sony's music as part of its service. It the company's fourth major settlement with a music label.

MP3.com suffered a $150 million charge against its second-quarter earnings for estimated lawsuit costs.

graphicMP3.com President Robin Richards, who appeared on CNNfn's In The Money Wednesday, spoke optimistically about the company's legal battles. "The suit with The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is no longer outstanding. The RIAA brought the suit amongst the five major record companies. We've got four now. We're very pleased, but I think the consumers are the real winner here, because with all the stuff going on about the CD and is it too expensive? And is it going away and we certainly don't think it is, what they've done, what the settling plaintiffs have done and our new partners have done is create a value on that CD." (360K WAV) or (360K AIF)

"They're saying to the consumers your CD now has more value. You can move it to the Net. You can have it managed for you. You can retrieve it up on demand in a secure environment. And I think it's incumbent on everybody in the music industry to continue creating more value for that CD. And I think that's just what we've done and I think consumers can't wait to do it." 

Founded in 1998, the company has more than 562,800 songs from over 87,700 artists on its Web site. My.MP3.com, the company's flagship service, allows a user to instantly add, organize and listen to music collections online, wherever a Web-connected computer can be accessed.

Richards added: "We feel pretty good about our business plan. We haven't booked any revenues per se on the mp3 nor have we projected any, but I think there are a lot of possibilities. You know, the movie industry after the big hit comes out, they go to video."

Richards also said that he believes that mp3.com will be able to offer even more opportunities as a secondary market for music that has moved off the billboard onto the less-perused, secondary rack. He believes people will be willing to ante up a flat monthly fee to gain access to slightly older tunes in mp3 format through his service.

"Our marketing folks are getting together now. You have to build up a little bit of trust between the folks before the ingenuity really begins to spur itself. And I think we've started to see that trust being built up with the folks that we've settled with. And I think you'll see some very exciting products out of the music industry and mp3.com from a marketing and promotion and consumer perspective in the upcoming months." 

Richards has served as MP3.com president and Chief Operating Officer since January 1999 and before that he was managing director of Tickets.com, Inc., an Internet ticketing company. 

Shares of MP3.com  (MPPP: Research, Estimates) closed at 9-15/32, up 1/8 in Wednesday trading. Back to top

-- compiled by Staff Writer Lucy Banduci

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