Users can listen to the stored files either from a PC or from a wireless Internet device such as a mobile phone or other connected handhelds.
A feature called Instant Listening lets users who purchase CDs from participating online retailers immediately store and then listen to the CDs in an Internet-based MP3.com account, according to the statement. The participating music "e-tailers" are Junglejeff.com, Duffelbag.com and Cheap-CDs.com.
Another feature, called Beam-it, lets users do the same things with CDs they already own. Users download the appropriate software, then put their CD into their PC, where the music is automatically uploaded and then stored as a digital music file in their MP3 account. Beam-it uses software that also verifies the identity of the user, MP3.com said. Users can then customise play lists of the tunes they store in their account.
The recording industry is less than happy with the current state of online distribution of music. However, MP3 sees its move as boosting CD sales, as users store files of CDs they have already purchased. It called the move an attempt to "bridge the interests of artists, recording labels and consumers."
MP3.com's Web site contains 250,000 songs from more than 40,000 artists that users already download for listening to on their PCs or in MP3 players.