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MP3 Says Pay to Play

In a tough economy, one viable trick is to come up with new ways to make money. So if you have a proven technology, why not sell it? That's essentially want MP3.com Inc. has cooked up; the music service provider drew the curtain on an Audio Hosting Service Wednesday for people that desire the facility to deliver quality streaming audio.

Basically, San Diego's MP3 is taking its bread and butter and allowing the general public to use it. For a variety of fees, companies or individuals who need streaming audio to help sell CDs, provide entertainment or corporate conferences could take MP3.com up on its offer.

Seven pricing plans are available, ranging from $4.95 a month for 50 megabytes (MBs) of storage to 500 MBs of bandwidth to $999.99 a month for 10 GBs of storage and 200 GBs of bandwidth, but larger packages can easily be negotiated, according to the company.

It really can't get much simpler than piggybacking on a company's flagship technology and that is essentially what MP3.com is allowing enterprising people to do -- become a mini-MP3.com. Some simple math reveals that it isn't as altruistic as it seems. If MP3 gets a hundred of those customers who want 10 gigs of storage/200 gigs of bandwidth, that's a cool $100,000.

Noting that his firm has invested heavily to get its infrastructure to where it is today, MP3.com Chief Executive Officer Michael Robertson said Wednesday that now others can "service their own net audio needs at prices which may save them substantially over existing options."

As far as options go, MP3 is pretty much the standard for online music, with more than 967,000 songs and audio files posted from over 150,000 digital artists and record labels. The company also offers on-demand Subscription Music Channels, a Business Music Services program, a Syndicated Radio program and others.

Those interested may sign up here. Customers are provided with a variety of audio delivery options, from low fidelity (Lo Fi) streaming to near CD quality (Hi Fi) streaming as well as 25-second sample selections.

Audio Hosting users who embed the URL into their own Web sites will be able to access high-quality audio, allowing them to including song samples to up sell CDs, complete song delivery, news, interviews, archived conferences, audio production descriptions and tutorials. Also, daily statistics are provided for account administrators for to track usage as well as measuring the streams or downloads for each audio file.