HITS Daily Double
"Can I please have my job back?"
—MP3.com VP Joe Fleischer


MP3.com Stock Soars and Sinks
The MP3.com stock roller-coaster ride continues. Until last week, shares in the controversial online music provider had been languishing many leagues below last summer’s initial public offering price. But on Thursday they nearly doubled again after CEO Michael Robertson assured stockholders that the company would offer a new service despite a pending lawsuit with the Recording Industry Association of America.

The San Diego-based company soared $15.63, or 95 percent, to $32 on NASDAQ after Robertson spoke at a Robertson Stephens investment conference in San Francisco. In Thursday’s after-hours session, the volatile shares slid back below the IPO price, to $27.88. By Friday, shares were down six points.

The stock sold for $28 in July’s IPO and closed at $63.31 on the first day, but recently fetched as little as $15.

The RIAA suit, filed on behalf of all the major labels, concerns the site’s MyMP3.com service—more specifically, its database of some 80,000 CDs. Currently, users of the service can "Beam" their music collections by loading discs into their computer drives; the service locates a code and then provides a stream of that album from its database. The RIAAA claims that by creating the database, MP3.com committed copyright infringement.

In response to the suit, MP3.com has filed a countersuit against the RIAA and its chief, Hilary Rosen.

Robertson has also publicly declared that if it loses the suit, he has a Plan B—and no, it doesn’t involve wearing a paper hat. The company has been telling investors that it may now press forward with the service by asking users to post their own CDs on the Net instead of using its database, which implies that MP3.com will be permitted to implement its new business model.

And if that doesn’t work, we hear there’s a lot of money in porn.