Musings In Cb: MP3.com - We Made History!
By Chris Burnett, MusicDish.com
Well, it is official: "THE destination for digital
music," and the world's leading Online MP3 Music Distribution site
will cease to exist on Tuesday, December 2, 2003 at 12:00 PM PST.
Members were officially informed by direct email correspondence,
and also via a post to the moderator section of its message board,
that the MP3.com, Incorporated website will no longer be accessible
in its current form.
CNET Networks, Inc. announced on November 13, 2003
that it has acquired certain assets of MP3.com, Inc. Following a
transition period, CNET Networks, Inc. plans to introduce new and
enhanced artist services.
MP3.com's content administration tools will remain available to artist
members until the site is redirected on December 2, 2003. However,
promptly following the removal of the MP3.com website, all content
will be deleted from its servers and all previously submitted tapes,
CD-ROMs and other media in its possession will be destroyed. MP3.com
recommend that artist members make alternative content hosting arrangements
as soon as practicable.
MusicDish Network Sponsor
MP3.com advised artists and members to update or remove
all links and references to the URL www.mp3.com. Additionally if
you would like a historical record of your page, we recommend that
you capture screen shots of the page as well as your artist statistics
pages since they will no longer be available once the site goes
Here for the full-sized actual Screen Capture of Cb's MP3.com
Artist Page from November 14, 2003]
Change Is Usually a Good Thing
Many readers and visitors to my official website already
know that I have been an active supporter regarding most aspects
of online music distribution for a bit over 4 years now. This column
is also in that category. Even though I manage the schedule of a
full-time musician by profession, I believe it important to learn
about this aspect of promoting my music and recordings. I have not
been disappointed in terms of what I have continued to learn regarding
the real potential of the Internet and World Wide Web as a viable
So, this particular change and the fact that my favorite
MP3 site will soon no longer exist is not as disappointing for me
as it may be for some. Change is usually a good thing. Jazz musicians
generally understand the necessity for change.
I think that MP3.com was the pioneer in this field
and started something great. Just as the Ford Company started mass
production of the automobile. We have moved on from the Model-T
and we independent artists will successfully move on after MP3.com.
The success of the new subscription service models for music downloads
made it clear that the days of sites like MP3.com were numbered.
Especially when entities such as iTunes and Rhapsody initiated a
means for independent products to be included on such services via
defacto label conduits like The Orchard and CD Baby.
The MP3.com Technology Was Cool
Despite the end of their P4P (Payback for Playback
- artist royalty payment promotion), the main reason that I doggedly
stayed with MP3.com was because of the supposed potential outside
visitor traffic, overall quality of their jazz artist catalogue,
and the size of the place.
They also publicly tracked the number of plays - actually
good stuff for PR Kit data because it showed that someone was actually
listening to my music. I had also become a somewhat established
artist presence within the community there, and the nature of my
music seemed more suited to such a diverse potential visitor population
that the site attracted for me.
The interactive tools on the site such as the ability
to make a Streaming Radio Station Playlist of music from most any
of the world-class jazz artists on the site was great too. No traditional
radio Program Directors or DJ tastes to contend with. Anyone from
anywhere on the planet could make and listen to a mix of tracks
that they wanted to hear and share.
As relatively yet unknown, but serious jazz artists,
the context of having ones music available to the marketplace and
listening public in such an unencumbered way was liberating for
many of us who had music there. Think about it, where else could
I easily have my music online with other fellow independent jazz
artists, along with other jazz artists who are better known than
I am. Names like: Marsalis Family, Robin Eubanks, Oliver Lake, Erica
Lindsay, George Benson, Ahmad Alaadeen, George Colligan, Phil Davis,
and many other of this caliber may not mean anything to the average
person - BUT, in the jazz world we know who these cats are.
Many of these world-class artists actually heard and
commented on my music from my having it available on MP3.com; and,
I have even corresponded with several of them because of it - such
is practical networking that would not have occurred otherwise.
So, there has been some benefit. I even got a recent
Maynard Ferguson gig because the contractor heard of me by recommendation,
then actually found me online at MP3.com to listen before officially
hiring my quartet.
Open Letter To MP3.com
Upon announcement of this news, the message boards
at MP3.com were very busy with various comments about the situation.
As you can probably imagine, the messages and notes varied greatly
from G to triple X rating, while including most emotions imaginable.
Hey, it's the Internet - remember?
So, I posted the letter below to the Moderator section
of the site as my personal farewell and thanks to the people who
made MP3.com work for us for so long. Here is my letter...
Dear MP3.com Artist Support Team, and MP3.com, Inc.:
I too would like to add a word of thanks to all
of you, and MP3.com, the company. You changed the music industry
paradigm for the better - forever!
We all learned a lot about promoting and marketing
our music online through the resources made available here. And
most of us, who had been here a while, also earned some residual
income for our time and efforts during the years of your P4P promotion.
My perspective on this is because I make my living
as a musician in the world away from OMD. So, I never counted
on MP3.com, or OMD, to earn vital income or to get me "signed"
- or anything else unrealistic like that. I became a member here
simply to have the potential of other people being able to listen
to my recorded music.
My music has been downloaded or streamed here over
half a million times by people from at least 55 countries throughout
the world. This is significant to me in an artistic sense because
it shows a market does exist for my work. I have received emails
from many countries expressing appreciation for my music as well...
I know some are thinking that my number of plays
isn't significant when compared to the MP3.com marketing of Ernesto
Cortazzar's retail organization, or the sheer volume of plays
generated by online electronic musicians at MP3.com like Bassic,
303Infinity, and Trance  Control. Not to mention that there
are many artists in the more commercially common genres (which
includes both, smooth or pop jazz and classical public domain
cover music) who also have many more plays than I accumulated.
However, there was no other ACOUSTIC JAZZ ARTIST
at MP3.com who achieved over 500,000 total plays. That's a really
cool fact for me to present considering the dynamic of this demographic
of artists. You have to consider that most acoustic jazz guys
like me would have long ago ditched the MP3.com artist community
scene, gave up on how to interface with the online music tools
of the site, and of course their computers would have been a casualty
at some point too. So, I did pretty good for one of the serious
artistic jazz guys and I learned a lot too - COOL!
I think that there will be other opportunities for
independent musicians like myself with online music. But, MP3.com
will always be a significant part of the history of the music
industry worldwide. And all of us were a part of making that history
That is the end of my letter and also the end of my
official associations with MP3.com. With that duly noted, I sincerely
believe that the most promise is still ahead of us with regard to
Realistically speaking, most artists who had been
involved with OMD for any time period knew that it was only a matter
of time before MP3.com was gone. The technology and model for delivering
music online has changed. When MP3.com started, most musicians did
not have their own websites and their templates really helped. Today,
most professionally done websites make an MP3.com page look silly,
while also being more secure using Flash delivery while simultaneously
storing the artists' content away from the clutches of the music
industry nemesis - those dreaded download pirates.
It was time for change. But hey, MP3.com - We Made
by the MusicDish
Network. Copyright © Tag
It 2003 - Republished with Permission