New Site Offers Music Downloads From ‘Anywhere’

Myplay, Inc., backed by a $5 million (US$) bankroll from private investors, has launched a site that gives digital music fans access to their favorite tracks without having to carry the music with them.

Myplay provides Internet-based storage of digital music for access via any device that can be connected to the Web. Web surfers can now use not only laptops and desktops but also devices with little storage capacity — such as hand-held personal data devices or some of the new-model cellular telephones — to listen to tracks found on the Internet.

Myplay CEO Doug Camplejohn says he founded the new company because, as downloadable music has become more popular, the online process of doing so has remained “complicated and not consumer friendly.” By allowing visitors to create their own “storage lockers” on the Myplay site and download digital tracks from anywhere on the Web, Myplay is looking to differentiate itself from the multitude of digital music portals that have been popping up on the Web this year.

Votes of Confidence

Myplay has attracted $5 million in its first round of funding, lining up Institutional Venture Partners, Integral Capital Partners, investment bank Allen & Co. and other private investors. The company also named Institutional Venture Partners’ Peter Gotcher to the Myplay board of directors.

In addition, Myplay will get marketing help through new agreements with Artemis Records, Atomic Pop and Dreamworks Records, a division of the entertainment company formed by Steven Spielberg, recording executive David Geffen and former Disney executive Jeffrey Katzenberg.

According to researchers, the investment may be well-placed. Downloadable music has surpassed sex as the number one searched term on the Internet, Myplay says, adding, “To many, it is synonymous with the future of music.” Forrester Research predicts that digital music will contribute $1.1 billion to the U.S. music industry over the next three years.

Multiple Music Sources

The company says it “takes the difficulty out of downloading music” with its DropBox feature, which allows customers to move music from any Internet site to their locker with a single click. Through strategic partnerships with Listen.com, a music download directory, and two MP3 distribution hubs, Myplay offers its members the ability to download tracks from those sites directly into their Myplay lockers.

In addition, Myplay offers free promotional tracks on its own Web site and will store digital music tracks that members upload from compact discs onto the Internet.

Using their lockers, members can create playlists and allow friends access to the music. Members can also download individual tracks or entire playlists to a portable digital music player at any time.

About Myplay

Myplay was founded by Doug Camplejohn and David Pakman, former executives at Apple Computer, Inc. and other Internet companies. The company also recruited Changming Shih from Infoseek, Richard Ault from CNET, Margie Mader from Netscape, Michael Crotty from CDNOW, Paula Batson from N2K and Ben Fong-Torres, a founding editor of Rolling Stone, to run the company. Myplay is based in Redwood City, California.

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