MP3.com Lets Users Store Their Music Online

Online music provider MP3.com Inc. today said it has enhanced its site with a new service that lets users store and then listen to their own CDs whenever they are connected to the Internet.

Now available for free testing, the company's My.MP3.com service now has features that allow users to store CDs as digital music files in their online accounts, the company said in a statement. User can listen to the stored files either from a PC or from a wireless Internet device such as a mobile phone or other connected handhelds.

A feature called Instant Listening lets users who purchase CDs from participating online retailers immediately store and then listen to the CDs in an Internet-based MP3.com account, according to the statement. The participating music "e-tailers" are Junglejeff.com, Duffelbag.com and Cheap-CDs.com.

Another feature, called Beam-it, is designed to let users do the same thing with CDs they already own. Beam-it software, accessible on the MP3.com site, matches music CDs that users insert into their PCs with CDs stored in MP3.com's own library. The software asks users if they own the CDs. If users verify they own the CDs in question, and the CDs match those in MP3.com's library, users then may log into their MyMP3.com account from any PC to listen to the CDs, played in streaming format. Users can then customize play lists of the tunes they store in their account.

The recording industry is less than happy with the current state of online distribution of music. However, MP3 sees its move as boosting CD sales, as users store files of CDs they have already purchased. It called the move an attempt to "bridge the interests of artists, recording labels and consumers."

MP3.com's Web site contains 250,000 songs from more than 40,000 artists that users already download for listening to on their PCs or in MP3 players.

To learn more about the service, visit http://livewebcast.mp3.com at 1 p.m. PST today.

MP3.com, in San Diego, can be reached online at http://mp3.com.

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