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Start-up Myplay tunes in to music downloads

Another Internet music start-up, dubbed Myplay.com, launches, joining a highly competitive industry but claiming to make it easier to download, manage, and play music files.

Another Internet music start-up, dubbed Myplay.com, launched today, joining a highly competitive industry but claiming to make it easier to download, manage, and play music files.

In typical Silicon Valley fashion, company executives preferred to say little about the expected launch until their "coming-out party" today at a San Francisco, California, nightclub. But the company's Web site already offers enough clues. For starters, it says that Myplay founder Doug Camplejohn, a former Apple executive, "came up with the idea for Myplay out of frustration."

"There were multiple pieces of software I had to load, and when I was trying to get this thing to work, the user interfaces were completely non-intuitive," he says on the site. As a result, Camplejohn "decided to fix the problem" himself, and "Myplay was born."

In a statement released today, Myplay said that its service will allow users to access their digital music collections from anywhere in the world and from multiple devices, including personal computers, laptops, handheld devices, and cellular phones.

The company added that it has partnerships with music Web sites Listen.com, Tunes.com, and EMusic.com and has marketing agreements with Dreamworks Records, Artemis Records, and Atomic Pop.

Myplay will have an editorial component managed by Ben Fong-Torres, a former Rolling Stone editor. A search of the company's Web site suggests that revenue will come from online advertising and marketing pacts with record companies.

The management team includes former executives and engineers from Apple Computer, N2K, and Infoseek. The company said in its statement that it has raised $5 million in funding from venture capital firms Institutional Venture Partners (IVP) and Integral Capital Partners, investment bank Allen & Company, and private investors. IVP's Peter Gotcher was named to the Myplay board of directors.

"Hosting music files on the Web is the obvious next step in the MP3 revolution," Roger McNamee, portfolio manager at Integral Capital Partners, said in a statement. "Myplay's service stands out in the rapidly evolving music field as the clear leader in delivering a user-friendly solution for high-quality digital audio."

Facing fierce competition
By any measure, the privately held music company faces enormous competition in this fast-growing business, but it still has big-league ambitions.

It is seeking a business development executive who has "cut more than 25 deals with the leading online distribution partners [and] understands licensing, negotiation, and partnership agreements [for] a hot, new consumer-focused online music company," according to its Web site.

A director of music industry partnerships--based in New York, no less--"would love the opportunity to call your colleagues at major and independent labels and offer them unparalleled marketing services."

A so-called customer care representative will help "Myplay's customers learn the various features we've created."

On the technology front, a senior software engineer will "design and develop Myplay MP3-related entertainment Web services. Myplay projects include Web server CGI, client/server programs, database design, e-commerce transactions, search and browse feature, Navigator or IE plug-ins, content publishing tools, application server, and many more.

"The service is focusing on supporting real-time heavy traffic, load balanced, and fault tolerant."

According to Myplay's Web site, the Myplay client architecture will "live on every desktop platform or MP3 devices (Win32, Mac, Unix, Rio Player, etc.) and will synchronize Myplay servers over IP connections. On the server side, there will be Java programs, which handle requests from the client. The communications protocols could be based on HTTP, HTML, or XML formats."