February 1, 1999 4:30 AM PST

Lycos to get MP3 music database

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Riding the grassroots popularity of online music, Web portal Lycos and Norwegian download site FAST today launched a new resource for downloads using controversial MP3 technology.

The service, called MP3 Search, allows users to search databases of MP3 audio files. It will be featured on the Lycos site and use FAST technology to search the Web for music files.

MP3 (MPEG 1, Audio Layer 3) is a booming technology that allows users to download CD-quality music via the Net. The technology compresses songs that can be stored on a computer hard drive and replayed.

Despite objections by the music industry over copyright concerns, MP3 in essence is becoming a de facto standard in audio compression formats. As a result, even some musicians have begun using the technology online.

The advent of an MP3 offering on a Web portal is not surprising given the high volume of music download queries most search engines receive. MP3 proponents say the term "MP3" is one of the most popular terms that surfers search for.

The format's exploding popularity has not pleased everyone, however. The RIAA, the music industry's lobbying arm, views the technology as promoting pirated music. The organization has taken several measures to curb the use of MP3 and other technologies that it says encourage distribution of music that is in violation of copyright laws.


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