MP3.com - We Made History!

Christopher Burnett By

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By Chris Burnett

Well, it is official: "THE destination for digital music", and the very first Online Music Distribution site in the world will cease to exist on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 at 12:00 PM PST. Members were officially informed by direct email correspondence, and also via a post to the moderator section of its message board, that the MP3.com, Incorporated website will no longer be accessible in its current form.


CNET Networks, Inc. announced on November 13, 2003 that it has acquired certain assets of MP3.com, Inc. Following a transition period, CNET Networks, Inc. plans to introduce new and enhanced artist services.

MP3.com's content administration tools will remain available to artist members until the site is redirected on December 2, 2003. However, promptly following the removal of the MP3.com website, all content will be deleted from its servers and all previously submitted tapes, CD-ROMs and other media in its possession will be destroyed. MP3.com recommend that artist members make alternative content hosting arrangements as soon as practicable.

MP3.com advised artists and members to update or remove all links and references to the URL www.mp3.com. "Additionally if you would like a historical record of your page, we recommend that you capture screen shots of the page as well as your artist statistics pages since they will no longer be available once the site goes offline", concluded their announcement. [Click HERE for the full-sized actual Screen Capture of Cb's MP3.com Artist Page from November 14, 2003]


Many readers and visitors to my official website already know that I have been an active supporter regarding most aspects of online music distribution for a bit over 4 years now. This column is also in that category. Even though I manage the schedule of a full-time musician by profession, I believe it important to learn about this aspect of promoting my music and recordings. I have not been disappointed in terms of what I have continued to learn regarding the real potential of the Internet and World Wide Web as a viable platform.

So, this particular change and the fact that my favorite MP3 site will soon no longer exist is not as disappointing for me as it may be for some. Change is usually a good thing. Jazz musicians generally understand the necessity for change.

I think that MP3.com was the pioneer in this field and started something great. Just as the Ford Company started mass production of the automobile. We have moved on from the Model-T and we independent artists will successfully move on after MP3.com. The success of the new subscription service models for music downloads made it clear that the days of sites like MP3.com were numbered. Especially when entities such as iTUNES and Rhapsody initiated a means for independent products to be included on such services via defacto label conduits like The Orchard and CDBaby.


Despite the end of their P4P (Payback for Playback) artist royalty payment promotion), the main reason that I doggedly stayed with MP3.com was because of the supposed potential outside visitor traffic, overall quality of their jazz artist catalogue, and the size of the place.

They also publicly tracked the number of plays - actually good stuff for PR Kit data because it showed that someone was actually listening to my music. I had also become a somewhat established artist presence within the community there, and the nature of my music seemed more suited to such a diverse potential visitor population that the site attracted for me.

The interactive tools on the site such as the ability to make a Streaming Radio Station Playlist of music from most any of the world-class jazz artists on the site was great too. No traditional radio Program Directors or DJ tastes to contend with. Anyone from anywhere on the planet could make and listen to a mix of tracks that they wanted to hear and share.

As relatively yet unknown, but serious jazz artists, the context of having ones music available to the market place and listening public in such an unencumbered way was liberating for many of us who had music there. Think about it, where else could I easily have my music online with other fellow independent jazz artists, along with other jazz artists who are better known than I am. Names like: Marsalis Family, Robin Eubanks, Oliver Lake, Erica Lindsay, George Benson, Ahmad Alaadeen, George Colligan, Phil Davis, and many others of this caliber may not mean anything to the average person - BUT, in the jazz world we all know who these cats are.

Many of these world-class artists actually heard and commented on my music from my having it available on MP3.com; and, I have even corresponded with several of them because of that Internet site.


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