MP3.com tunes up online music plan

With its ear attuned to the sound of money, the digital music giant unveils a new initiative to harmonize retailers, labels, music players, and hardware and software tools.

With its ear attuned to the sound of money, digital music giant MP3.com on Thursday unveiled a new initiative to harmonize retailers, labels, music players, and hardware and software tools.

The proposed Music InterOperating System consists of existing applications and services on the new MP3.com Developers Network (MP3DN) and also will include other technology to be introduced over the coming year, the company said.

MP3DN is a Web site for developers of technology and services intended to allow users to access music from various Web sites and Internet-enabled devices.

MP3.com has lately been healing its wounds after a major legal battle with the music industry, while looking for new ways to generate revenue streams to pay for the money lost to settlement fees with major music companies.

The goal of the new Music IOS is to simplify the way consumers buy, listen to and store their music. The company aims, for example, to unify what currently are three separate actions: buying a CD, playing it on a stereo, and putting that music in an online locker.

"We expect to change that process by connecting a music retailer with a device manufacturer and an online locker service in a way that will make it one transaction," Michael Robertson, chief executive officer of MP3.com, said in a statement.

One component of the Music IOS is the Instant Listening application programming interface (API), which is available on the MP3DN site. The API allows music commerce Web sites to offer MP3.com services so that someone who has just purchased music can access it immediately through the password-protected My.MP3.com music service.

Last month, MP3.com teamed with music retailer Tower Records to provide instant listening services to online CD buyers.

Another Music IOS component, not yet available on the MP3DN site, is the new Beam-it software developers kit (SDK), which will let consumers add licensed portions of their personal CD collection to an online MP3 music account. The kit would allow developers to connect the Beam-it service to their own software, device or Web site, the company said.

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