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October 19, 2006

For Free MP3, go to AllOfMP3

posted by MR WAVETHEORY at 10/19/2006 07:28:00 AM
AllOfMP3 has been offering free MP3s on its website and is being officially recognized by the US government as the highest volume seller of pirated MP3s online according to the NY Times.
Low prices and ease of use have made AllofMP3 a consumer favorite among music download sites, but the site — which claims to operate legally under Russian copyright law — faces ongoing legal battles with the music industry and harsh criticism from the United States government.
The site has 5 million users and grows at 5000 new users pay day. In case you were wondering, the site is based in Russia where intellectual property laws need not apply. BoingBoing is saying that Visa has cut off AllOfMP3 and therefore the site is switching to become ad supported. The site is nearly free since tracks are 10 cents per download. For 10 cents per song, $25 buys you 250 songs, much cheaper than iTunes by Apple Computer (Nasdaq AAPL). It also runs a service called AllTunes. The issue seems to be stirring up some interest in Washington:
The US Trade Representative has been threatening to scuttle Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization if they don't shut down AllOfMP3, but nobody in Russia seems to care much about WTO membership. Sitting on one of the world's largest oil reserves makes membership in the WTO somewhat moot -- Russia will always be able to find trading partners.
In this day and age, I think this will be a real test of IP rights vs consumer choice. It will be a real test of the business models that music companies have in developing companies. The reason AllOfMp3 exists is simply because music companies try to charge first world prices to developing world customers. It just doesn't work unless consumers can afford the products.

AllOfMP3 defends itself saying:
Mr. Mamotin said that the site, which claims five million subscribers and a growth rate of 5,000 a day, pays artists by turning over 15 percent of its revenue to a collecting agency, the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society, or ROMS. by its initials in Russian.

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