Well, folks, sound the trumpets, get out your shovels and grab some vodka. Allofmp3.com, and all of its offshoots, mp3sparks.com and allofmp3.ru have most likely gone the way of the dodo.
For those of you who’ve never heard of these sites, and the controversy that they have generated in the music industry, here’s a quick breakdown. A russian website was selling music for incredibly cheap prices, by charging by the megabyte, usually about $0.03 per, leading you to be able to download a song for between $0.07 and $0.30, and an album for around 2 bucks. Compared to Itunes’ $0.99 per song, this made it a no brainer, right?
Well, check me if I’m wrong, Sandy, but if I kill all the golfers, they’ll lock me up and throw away the key.
Right you are, Carl. The Russian group operating these sites apparently never recieved permission from the record labels of the musicians’ whose music they sold, and were sued. However, American courts have no jurisdiction over Russian corporations, and so the lawsuit sort of just…sat there. A Russian court (which many suspected of being of the marsupial variety) found allofmp3.com not guilty of any wrongdoing, and for a time, they were still operating.
At this point, however, the U.S. has basically made cancellation of the websites mandatory for Russia’s admittance into the W.T.O., and as of January 7, 2008, it is no longer possible to fund accounts at all. There had been some shady Russian third-party merchants accepting CC payments in exchange for “PIN codes” which would get you a dollar balance on allofmp3 (or mp3sparks) but those avenues have also dead-ended.
In the end, it looks like the Russians are going to cave, and quietly murder their in-house gray-marketeers. We don’t think allofmp3 or mp3sparks will be back up anytime soon.
However, an “invitation only” website called memphismembers.com is apparently still operating, though the management of allofmp3 apparently decides who can be on it (“high-value” members are purported to get individualized URL access sites) and it’s not available to Joe Downloader.
So we’re left with Itunes, and it’s cross-eyed appalachian PC cousin, URGE, plus whatever other BS companies want to suckle on the teat of Big Music by offering corporate-set price download sites to us hapless consumers. (Cnet anyone?)
In the end, I’m not saying that allofmp3 was right or wrong. I’m just sayin’ it was cheap, and effective, and a lot of people are going to miss it.