Last July music industry nemesis Michael Robertson guided MP3.com to a high-flying IPO, leaving record execs wondering what he'd do for an encore. The unwelcome answer came last week: without seeking permission from the major labels, MP3.com has encoded 40,000 CDs from a variety of artists to help Net users create their own personalized online jukeboxes. If you buy a CD online (the first three e-tail partners are Duffelbag.com, Junglejeff.com and Cheap-CDs.com), you can listen to your purchases immediately in streaming MP3. If you want to listen to a CD that you already own, pop the CD in your CD-ROM drive and a small program that MP3.com provides called Beam-It will verify that you own the CD, then add it to your collection. Robertson says that his service is legal because people will be listening to music that they already own. No way, say label chiefs. Stay tuned.
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