MP3.com is reopening its servers, nearly a decade after it helped usher in the online music era by letting largely unknown bands submit files for computer users to download.
The Web site, acquired by San Francisco-based CNET Networks Inc. in 2003, has recently undergone a redesign. Relaunched officially on Tuesday, the site now offers up to 100 megabytes of storage space for audio tracks and unlimited space for videos, free of charge.
The company won't say how many independent artists or tracks have been uploaded to the site since it began accepting files a few weeks ago.
CNET only bought the Internet domain, not the library of more than 1 million tracks that bands had uploaded to MP3.com since 1998.
So, until recently, the site focused on offering editorial content on major label artists and enabled visitors to stream select tracks and videos while online, typically with links to Internet music stores where fans could buy downloads for portable devices and offline play.
The revamped site weaves in tracks and videos by independent and unsigned bands for visitors to download directly from MP3.com. It gives at least some of the fledgling acts equal billing with similar artists from major labels.
MP3.com is looking to compete with News Corp.'s MySpace.com, which has emerged as a favorite destination for independent and little-known bands to connect with fans and build a following online.
To that end, MP3.com has added features that, for instance, let bands see how their music stacks up to other artists in their genre. Bands can also see what ZIP codes their listeners hail from and get a page on the site, where they can upload and edit their music, videos and digital images.