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Day the music died at MP3.com

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Yesterday was almost the day the music died for MP3.com after the firm forgot to renew its domain name, documents received by The Register claim.

According to Steve Cox, a musician who promotes his music by posting it on the site - part of the mighty Vivendi Universal empire - only his quick-witted action re-registering the expired site saved MP3.com from a long and deafening silence.

"I am the guy that saved MP3.com, or at least their website," Cox, who sings under the name Voice of Golden Eagle, told The Register.

"When I went to my artist site URL this morning, I saw one of the infamous VeriSign redirects instead of my music, complete with the dreaded message, 'We didn't find: artists.mp3s.com'. There is no Website at this address."

Cox added that further investigation showed that the site was "almost entirely broken", with just the front-page remaining and all links and sub-domains dead. He claimed that the firm's multi-million dollar web presence had been stopped dead over a $35 renewal fee.

"As an artist being directly affected by this breakdown my next actions were clear. I picked up the phone and called Network Solutions customer support. Within minutes I used my own credit card to purchase a one year renewal for the MP3S.com domain," Cox said.

"As I wait I smile, thinking about how the Net's "Premiere Music Streaming Service" had to be rescued by.me!"

Our curiosity was further whetted when we received a message from Reg reader John Moppett saying that Verisign has struck again and taken over the site: "Went to MP3.Com, but can't pick up any links, they all end up with Verisign!!"

A quick whois search does show that the San Diego-based MP3.com, part of Vivendi Universal's US Internet and technology unit, has indeed renewed its domain today. However, running host -t soa mp3.com to find the SOA record (Start Of Authority), which should show who owns, or is responsible for the domain gives up the following suggestion that nothing is untoward.

mp3.com SOA sdns00.mp3.com hostmaster.mp3.com(
2003092900 ;serial (version)
14400 ;refresh period
3600 ;retry refresh this often
604800 ;expiration period
10800 ;minimum TTL
)

At the time of going to press MP3.com had not responded to our voice messages or emails - despite the fact that we carpet-bombed all the contact addresses and numbers listed on the site. However, we were surprised to note that that the main email address listed for press enquiries, pr@vunetusa.com, was bouncing mail this afternoon with the following error message.

SMTP error from remote mailer after RCPT TO:<pr@vunetusa.com:
host mail2.mp3.com [63.241.17.41]: 550 <pr@vunetusa.com:
User unknown in virtual alias table. ®

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