Proclaiming the iPod is Dying, MP3.com’s Founder Launches A Web Site for Downloading Music to Your Cell Phone
San Diego’s MP3.com founder Michael Robertson says the iPod is dying and in a few years, “it will be just a footnote in history.”
Robertson recently predicted the passing of the enormously successful Apple music player in a provocative blog entry that argues mobile phones are destined to become the next-generation music player. He also uses the occasion to announce the launch of a new Internet site that delivers free digital music to cell phones.
Robertson created his latest venture, TuneRoom, as part of his MP3tunes organization, which operates both sideload.com and MP3tunes.com. TuneRoom allows users to search for music tracks and send them wirelessly to their mobile phone. Users can browse music files from a PC or Mac and send them to their cell phone, or use the mobile phone’s browser to visit TuneRoom and load the songs directly onto their phone. Robertson says the site has more than 150,000 songs available for free, and he believes he is onto something big.
“I have a decent track record predicting music trends,” he says.
But let’s not write the iPod’s obituary just yet. Robertson’s blog offers readers a chance to agree or disagree with his pronouncements. So far more than 530 people have voted on his views about dying iPods and next-generation music players—and 86 percent have disagreed with him.
Xconomy asked Robertson to explain why he thinks the iPod is dying and what need TuneRoom is addressing that the iPod lacks. He replied in an email: “The big limitation with iPod is NO WIRELESS DELIVERY. You want new music? Go cable it up to your PC. That’s bothersome and people always forget to do it. With tuneroom (and with a MP3tunes locker) I can send any song directly to my phone. I can go to any computer in the world and send music to my phone. No cables required. No special software required. No itunes limitations.”
It’s worth noting that while he takes aim at the iPod, Robertson does not address, or even mention, the Apple iPhone, iPod touch, or the iPhone WiFi Music Store, which offers wireless music downloads for both devices.
So how exactly is the iPod dying if it’s also evolving to include next-generation capabilities for wireless downloading? Perhaps Robertson, who founded MP3.com and triggered a battle with the recording industry, is just reprising his role as a serial provocateur.
As it turns out, TuneRoom uses sideload, Web-based software that is the subject of a copyright lawsuit filed in late 2007 by major record label EMI. The complaint alleges that Robertson’s MP3tunes—and its sideload Web site—infringe on its copyrighted music by operating an integrated online music service—and that MP3tunes lacks EMI’s authorization to do that.
Asked about that cloud hanging overhead, Robertson called the case “nonsense” and explained that “Sideload is simply a search engine and search engines are protected” by federal law.