The move marks another milestone for the music news, download, and community site, which has become a hub for Netizens seeking information about and music in the MP3 (MPEG 1, Audio Layer 3) format.
But the recording industry has expressed concern about MP3--and in some cases taken legal action--because although the format itself is not illegal, it allows for the free, unauthorized distribution of copyright-protected material.
The Recording Industry Association of America in December 1998 launched the Secure Digital Music Initiative, which is charged with creating a specification for secure downloads of music online.
MP3.com has what chief executive Michael Robertson has called a "cordial" relationship with the record industry. Robertson said earlier this month that MP3.com is planning to go public this year.
Gateway's Waitt said he supports the digital distribution of music and sees a bright future for MP3.com.
"MP3.com is leading the revolution in the digital distribution of music," Waitt said in a statement. "I think they have only scratched the surface of how people will learn about, listen to, and buy music in the future."
MP3.com president Robin Richards said in a statement that the company made the move to bolster its executive team. Richards indicated that the company would be making similar moves in the near future.