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Warner Music blasts AnywhereCD

WmgGee, that didn't take long. Reuters reports this morning (via News.com) that Warner Music Group doesn't want AnywhereCD, which had been in business for all of one day, to sell its albums as MP3 files. The record company claims the online retailer violated their deal, which evidently authorized AnywhereCD to offer a service enabling people to rip newly purchased CDs into MP3 files. Maybe what Warner had in mind was CD sales tied to an online locker service, a la MP3tunes (formerly known as Oboe), AnywhereCD CEO Michael Robertson's last start-up. Instead, what it got was AnywhereCD offering MP3 files with or without the CD. This may turn out to be another situation like the legal battle over MyMP3.com, Robertson's first run-in with the labels. There, Robertson offered an online music locker service that ripped and loaded tracks on users' behalf, rather than requiring them to upload songs themselves. Paying more than $100 million in settlements and damages in that case clearly hasn't dampened Robertson's enthusiasm for the format, or his willingness to push the labels out of their comfort zone.

Update: AnywhereCD now offers only the more expensive package deal of a CD with downloadable MP3s. It's a nice deal for Warner, which gets paid by AnywhereCD for both the CD and the downloads. Sweet!

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Times editorial writer Jon Healey pens opinion pieces about a variety of business issues, and blogs about technologies that are changing the entertainment industry's business model.

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