MP3.com Goes Back To School To Showcase Wares

Enlarging a time-honored concept that has turned unknowns into sensations, the digital music site MP3.com (Nasdaq: MPPP) announced Friday that it is embarking on a tour of 28 college campuses across the U.S. to feature its music and technology offerings.

The San Diego, California-based company has hired the Goo Goo Dolls — a once popular band that still maintains a following — to headline the six-week tour. Some of the 18,000 musicians who have submitted music to the site for free download by its users will also get their moment in the spotlight.

It’s MP3 and the technology that drives it that will be the real feature however. Fresh off a $360 million (US$) initial public offering in July, and a deal announced earlier this week with Cox Interactive Media to start a radio network called MP3 radio.com, the company clearly intends to bring its technology to the group most likely to embrace it.

The tour will offer live music, samples of MP3 technology, software and hardware displays, an area set aside to showcase extreme lifestyle companies, demonstrations and giveaways and more.

“We are carrying the general philosophy of our Web site over to the Music and Technology Tour,” said MP3 VP, John Diaz. “It will be maximum exposure to music, information and entertainment for minimal cost.”

Diaz said that the company has considered the budget of the average college student in setting prices of $20 for the Go Goo Dolls and entrance to the MP3.com Village or just $10 for entrance to the village.

Coming Into the Mainstream

While the tour does not signal widespread acceptance of MP3 and its digital download offerings, it does add another indication that the technology is coming out of the closet and into the mainstream.

Virtually all the major record labels are experimenting in one form or another with digital offerings and many artists have warmed to the technology as well.

That doesn’t mean that MP3.com and its like-minded brethren are making money at it yet. The company lost nearly $6.3 million (US$) in the second quarter, despite a significant rise in revenues.

This isn’t the first music tour that MP3.com is involved in. Last month, the company announced it was co-sponsoring a tour that features Alanis Morissette and Tori Amos. Billed as the “5 Weeks Tour,” it is sponsored with mega-retailer Best Buy and will feature digital music technology and other offerings at concert venues.

MP3.com’s college tour will kick off at the University of Iowa in Iowa City on October 5th and wrap up at the University of California at San Diego in La Jolla on November 17th.

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