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February 7, 1999


By CBR Staff Writer

US independent record label Rykodisc has expressed its support for the controversial music file format MP3 by allowing a section of its catalogue to be sold via Goodnoise Corp’s web site. It becomes the largest record company to so far support the format, which has been criticized by the Record Industry Association of America for simplifying music piracy. New media company Solutions Media Inc of San Diego announced almost immediately that in light of this commercial support it is to release software it claims will make it possible for anyone to convert their music into MP3 and distribute it over the internet. This is the latest chapter in the MP3 saga, which has been running since MP3 became popular several years ago. MP3 stands for Motion Picture Experts Group (MPEG), Audio Layer 3, an easily distributable music file format with near-CD quality sound. In December, the RIAA announced a Secure Digital Music Initiative, to combat MP3 piracy by creating a digital music standard with copy-protecting ‘watermarks’. The SDMI has so far attracted the attention companies such as Lycos Inc, who last week agreed to join after launching an MP3 search engine that did not distinguish between legal and illegal files. User support for MP3 is at such a level that it is, according to Lycos, the second most requested internet search word after ‘sex’. In the US, Diamond Multimedia produces personal stereo style devices for the format, and UK company Empeg Ltd is to start mass-producing 500-album capacity MP3 car stereos in March.

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