Online music seller MP3.com is to offer music from select artists represented by Seattle-based independent-record label Sub Pop Records.
Sub Pop, known for its early releases from Seattle "grunge rock" bands Nirvana and Soundgarden, will feature artists on its current roster including Combustible Edison, Saint Etienne and The Pernice Brothers, the companies said.
MP3.com in the past six months has gained notoriety as a proponent of MP3 (Motion Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer 3), a format for compressing audio data so that it can be downloaded easily over a network. The format has rapidly spurred the growth of Web sites that offer downloadable music as well as a controversy over how to protect the copyright of that music. Much of the music available online has been pirated.
Though no top-tier record company has supported the MP3 format, Sub Pop joins a growing list of independent record labels offering MP3 versions of their artists' recordings. Palo Alto, California-based GoodNoise Corp. earlier this month signed an MP3 distribution deal with Rykodisc, the independent label behind musicians Frank Zappa, Bruce Cockburn and Morphine.
MP3.com in January received its first venture funding, a total of US$11 million.