HITS Daily Double
"We've wrapped up most of our legal problems and expect to move to profitability in 2001."
—MP3.com CEO Michael Robertson


And We’re Trying This New Thing Called "Citing Our Sources"; We Hope It Catches On
Knowing that this company would never OK a jaunt to the French Riviera, Hitsdailydouble.com, because of its dedication to delivering timely music industry items of interest, has decided to offer a roundup of breaking news from the MIDEM confab provided by other publications with substantially larger budgets.

Internet music company MP3.com is reportedly on track to make a profit for the first time this year despite a softer advertising market, having put the bulk of its legal problems behind it, CEO Michael Robertson said Sunday (1/21), according to Reuters.

Robertson said his MP3.com would not follow Napster's lead of pairing with a cash-rich partner and plans to remain independent. "Napster had no choice, it needed a partner," he said at the annual music conference in Cannes. "We believe we can remain independent. We've wrapped up most of our legal problems and expect to move to profitability in 2001."

MP3.com has forked over $130 million in damages to the five major record labels after being forced to close down its My.MP3.com service last year. The company re-launched the service in December after signing licensing agreements with the majors.

Meanwhile, the online distribution of music was the talk of the town at the week-long gathering, starting with MidemNet, a one-day Internet conference that preceded the traditional music market, which runs through Thursday (1/25).

Using the event as a launching pad, IBM said it was expanding its existing Electronic Media Management System to allow for secure Napster-like peer-to-peer distribution, Variety reports. Big Blue also bowed a "click and buy" function for EMMS, which offers the ability to immediately purchase a song heard on the radio.

The weekend's entertainment highlight was the NRJ Awards, France's closest equivalent to the Grammys. Madonna was the big winner, nabbing the best international album and female artist awards. Moby received the male artist nod, and best group went to The Corrs. American singer Anastacia picked up two awards for best international newcomer and best song for her international hit "I'm Outta Love."

Other news to come out of Cannes included word that the Spice Girls are now focusing on their solo careers, "Posh Spice" Victoria Beckham told Reuters. "I have been working on it for the last year," she said. "It is looking really exciting and is almost finished. I have my first single out in May." As for the band, Posh offered, "We have a really great album out at the moment, which we are all very, very proud of. The Spice Girls at the moment are taking time to do our own thing."

But fear not, the band is in it for the long haul. "We are working on individual projects but we are always going to be Spice Girls," she said. "We are always going to be part of a band and we are always going to be very good friends. But we are taking time to pursue solo careers."

MIDEM is considered the world's largest record industry trade fair.