The hills won't be the only thing alive with the sounds of music. If MP3.com has anything to say about it, digital music will issue from bedroom alarm clocks, car stereos, and living room televisions.
Having settled copyright lawsuits filed by the big five record labels, MP3.com on Thursday unveiled its plans to make digital music available everywhere and in nearly every device.
"Imagine waking each morning to your favorite song streaming on your alarm clock," said company president Robin Richards. "Then get into your car to go to work and access your album collection through your car. At the office, you sit down and get a music message with your favorite songs."
The key to it all, said MP3.com chief executive officer Michael Robertson, is the Music InterOperating System, which is designed to connect artists and record labels, plus hardware and software.
With that system now in place, MP3.com can go everywhere, as Robertson demonstrated Thursday when he emailed former nemesis Hilary Rosen of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) some songs.
The RIAA sued MP3.com last year in the name of five major record labels, claiming the company's My.MP3.com online music database violated copyright laws.
The company claimed it purchased more than $1m worth of CDs to let users listen to the songs, but only if they could prove they owned the music outright. The lawsuit was settled when MP3.com agreed to pay about $60m in damages.
Now that the shackles are off, the company is introducing some of the products that have been in development for at least two years.
Among other things, Robertson demonstrated two new ways to get digital music into car stereos. He emailed music to a friend's minivan parked outside the MP3.com headquarters, then sent MP3s to a Ricochet wireless device in a Mazda Miata parked nearby.
Apparently, MP3.com was able to overcome difficulties that Robertson described last year about tests being run in San Diego for beaming music to cars. At the time, Robertson said tests weren't going well because it was difficult to beam anything into a moving object.
Robertson said MP3.com users will also be able to park their cars in front of their homes to upload MP3s into a stereo system.
The company is also moving into wireless applications with its "Transfer2Device" service, which will let users transfer their music stored at MP3.com's My.MP3.com service to any web-enabled device, Robertson claimed.
Robertson demonstrated another new "friends" feature for MP3.com users to share music files. But curious friends poking around a collection of stored music will only be able to hear 30-second snippets, not the entire song, he said.
The company has also partnered with device maker Panja to offer, for $399, a Panja Broadband Music Player. The device lets users play MP3s on a Web-enabled stereo or TV without having to use a PC or download MP3 files.
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