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MP3.com's shutdown

Indie songs may vanish in revamp

Music download site MP3.com will go offline today at 8pm GMT as owner Primetones.com revamps the site for its new launch. The closure will see over a million tracks from independent artists lost in the shuffle.

Music hosting company Primetones said that it has been lobbying the site's new owner, Cnet Networks, to use software it developed to archive the tracks, but had not yet reached an agreement. Cnet agreed to acquire assets of MP3.com from Vivendi Universal last month, and announced that the site would shut down on today while the company prepares to relaunch it with new services and features.

MP3.com, founded in 1997, has sold itself as a home for emerging artists and claims to have music from over 250,000 artistes. According to Primetones, when MP3.com shuts down later today over 1.3 million tracks from independent singers and songwriters will be lost.

Primetones is offering to host the music, and touts a 'Welcome MP3.com artists!' banner on its site. However, artists accepting the invitation have to become a registered member of Primetones.com, according to the group's website, therefore bolstering Primetones' own pool of musicians.

Primetones.com hosts music, ring tones, graphics, software applications and other products which are licensed for royalties.

Representatives for the San Francisco company were not immediately available for comment on the status of the independent tracks. A message posted by Cnet on the MP3.com site said that the company plans to relaunch the service as music.download.com in early 2004, offering "a free music download site that will address the needs of the independent artist community".

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