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Gateway CEO Joins MP3.com's Board of Directors

Gateway Inc.Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ted Waitt has joined MP3.com Inc.'s board of directors, becoming the first person outside the company to be named a director.

The MP3 site provides music downloads in the MP3 format, including MPEG 1 and Audio Layer 3. The company enables users to download thousands of songs. The site also claims 300,000 daily visitors. MP3.com recently started the Digital Automatic Music label program, in an effort to distribute and market artists' music globally and allow them to collect a 50 percent royalty.

While MP3.com enjoys the support of some artists, others have claimed the company provides free, unauthorized distribution of copyright-protected material. The Recording Industry Association of America, a music artists' trade group, has initiated its own program, the Secure Digital Music Initiative, intending to develop stricter parameters for the downloading of music from the Internet.

"For sure there's more than pirating (to use a music industry perspective) going on. New artists are porting their catalog of offerings to the Web directly. And old artists signed with labels are doing the same, releasing MP3 songs much to the befuddlement of the labels who have traditionally owned the artist more or less," said Internet.com senior investment analyst Steve Harmon.

In January, venture capital groups Sequoia Capital Partners and Idealab! invested a total of $11 million investment in the start-up.

"MP3.com is leading the revolution in the digital distribution of music and I'm thrilled to play a supporting role. I believe in digital distribution of music, and with more and more consumers and artists flocking to MP3.com, I think that they have only scratched the surface of how people will learn about, listen to and buy music in the future," Waitt said.

"We are pleased and fortunate to have Ted Waitt join our board. His numerous accomplishments clearly demonstrate his brilliance for branding an organization and we are very excited about what he will contribute to MP3.com," said digital music guru Michael Robertson, MP3.com's founder and chief executive officer.