MP3.com drops Analog Pussy – Vivendi KGB to blame?

Music industry control freakery

MP3.com has mysteriously dropped one of its best known online groups Analog Pussy - sparking concerns that the music industry may be trying to kill autonomous music on the Internet.

In a lengthy piece in LA Weekly, a reporter friend of the group tells how Jiga and Jinno, the Goan trance duo known as Analog Pussy, received an email from MP3.com saying the band was to be dropped and the money they had earned from selling its music through the site was going to be redistributed.

Analog Pussy's brand of trance music has been a great success on the site, regularly featuring in its Top 40 songs. MP3.com runs a service by which visitors can buy a CD of a particular artist's MP3 files and the band gets half the money. It will also pay a few cents to the band for every download from MP3.com. Analog Pussy was making around $6,000 a month through the service.

When the band asked MP3.com to explain their removal from the site, they claim it refused to tell them, simply quoting "suspicious activities" that they and other bands had been involved in. Despite pushing, they have received no other explanation of what these activities might be.

"I finally figured out that it's just what happens when you earn too much money there," Jiga told LA Weekly.

The conspiracy behind this bizarre behaviour, however, is that a week after Analog Pussy received the email, music industry giant Vivendi - which owns Universal among other companies - bought MP3.com for $372 million.

The company plans to use the MP3.com brand to promote and sell its own music. Inevitably the removal of one of its most successful independent artists will raise questions over Vivendi's - and the music industry in general - attempt to crush the online music community, from who it doesn't receive any royalties.

Ans as the LA Weekly story says, "Analog Pussy is not likely to be of much use to Vivendi Universal; the group already has a label, Hadshot, in Germany, for which it sold about 30,000 copies of its last record."

Following the demise of Napster and the apparent success of the status quo to control Internet music distribution, this looks like another nail in the coffin of the MP3 dream.

You can read the full story in LA Weekly here. ®

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