MP3.com preps MyMP3.com mk. 2

Advertising and subscription models to run in parallel

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MP3.com will relaunch its MyMP3.com 'virtual Walkman' service by the end of the month, now it's able to put the legal turmoil of the past year behind it.

MyMP3.com will be split into two strands, said MP3.com CEO Michael Robertson today. The first will be paid for by advertising, the other by punters. The advertising-funded service will also put limits on what users can upload and play back.

Robertson said the company had yet to decide how the subscription model would work, according to Reuters. "We haven't determined a price yet and we haven't decided if it should be a monthly or an annual fee. Obviously, it's in our best interest to keep it as modest as possible," he said.

However MyMP3.com operates, subscription dues and advertising revenue will help to pay the hefty licence fees MP3.com has agreed to cough up to the music industry after being found guilty of mass copyright infringement by the US District Court last April.

The same court yesterday oversaw the final settlement, between MP3.com and Universal, which will see the recording company paid $53.4 million in damages and music licensing fees.

That's in addition to the $100 million or so MP3.com has already paid out to EMI, Sony, Warner and BMG.

Still, now that it has got past all this legal aggravation, MP3.com can concentrate on growing its revenues and net earnings. Its last fiscal results say the company's revenue rise 400 per cent year on year, and its loss drop nearly a third. Relaunching MyMP3.com - and cashing in on the two revenue models - should help the company continue both trends.

It should also launch ahead of Napster's BMG-inspired subscription service and provide a template for how the MP3 sharing software company's business model will work in the real world. Will Napster's 38 million-odd users stick with it, or will the dessert the company? MyMP3.com may well give an early indication of how Napsterites will act. ®

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