MP3.com has extended a scheme to pay artists a fee based on the number of times their music is requested to its My.MP3.com facility, which is also the subject of a current lawsuit by a group of recording labels.
The company said it is committing $1m each month in May and June to its Payback for Playback programme for artists based on the number of times their music is requested by visitors to the site.
The scheme was originally introduced last November with the company setting aside around $200,000 each month but from May MP3.com will make $1m available to artists whose music is heard through the My.MP3.com site.
My.MP3.com was launched in January and lets consumers store and playback their personal CD collection in a free online account. But it was soon slapped with a lawsuit from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) accusing MP3.com of compiling an unauthorised digital music catalogue of up to 45,000 CDs. It argues that many of the copyrighted works are the property of its members.
The company refused to comment further on the lawsuit, but in a statement Michael Robertson, MP3.com chief executive, said: "Unfortunately it is artists who suffer most from the turmoil created by industry lawsuits, copyright and royalty issues. That is why MP3.com is continuing to put its money where its mouth is, in support of internet based music and the artists and labels who are contributing to this growing community."
MP3.com makes music available from 50,000 artists and each individual or band will have their own account tracking their earnings on the site which they can view daily. The amount will also be available for viewing by other visitors to the site.
The RIAA failed to comment on MP3.com's latest move.
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