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Music download service targets Linux desktops, eases DRM
Dec. 18, 2004 today formally launched Mindawn, a music download service that, unlike iTunes and Napster, targets Linux desktops. Mindawn is claimed to provide CD-quality song files and "virtually no" digital rights management (DRM) restrictions, offer full previews of the entire songs, and provide downloads in "lossless" Ogg Vorbis and FLAC formats, as well as in other common "lossy" formats.

"We were supposed to release this back in September, and pretty much everything was in place but our player, which was [delayed by] one little thing after another," company president Shawn Gordon told "It's been mostly done on Linux and Windows for a couple months, but it was the demo song playback feature that took long far longer than expected. We ended up not being ready for Linux and Windows till late late Wednesday, and didn't have the Mac version till this morning. I was getting hammered with emails asking how to play demo songs, so I thought it would be prudent to wait till I had all the platforms available before I started telling anyone else about it."

"Ogg Vorbis, unlike MP3, is a totally free and open sound format, and offers superior sound quality compared to MP3 and other compression techniques," Gordon said. "Meanwhile, FLAC is full CD quality and while 50 percent smaller, can easily be converted to AIFF or WAV files for use in standard CD players or converted to virtually any other lossy format for use on any portable media player."

"Essentially [DRM] is a means of stopping the user from listening to their purchased music in any way they see fit," Gordon added. "By contrast, for private users, Mindawn does not restrict the use of music files purchased from its service. Users may copy them to any number of devices and convert them to other formats as they wish."

Mindawn will also offer what Gordon describes as "a simple and attractive royalty system" for artists. "All you artists have to do is sign up, upload your music, and start selling, there is no approval process involved, you can be live in the time it takes to rip and upload your material," said Gordon. Mindawn will pay royalties monthly via PayPal.

According to Gordon, Mindawn has already signed up DVS Records, UBP International, OtterSong Records, ProgRock Records, Lion Music, Record Heaven, Big Balloon Music, and Fading Ways Music to offer music downloads on Mindawn, and that it is "actively attracting other labels to join its service with its simple licensing and royalty scheme."

Visit Mindawn for more details.

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