October 9, 2000 4:55 PM PDT

Myplay edits out content, some staff

Online MP3 storage company Myplay.com has laid off part of its editorial and marketing staff as it moves away from creating its own content for its Web site, the company confirmed Monday.

The total number of layoffs are "in the single digits," a company spokeswoman said, declining to give specific figures. The move comes as Myplay restructures its business model to focus on its music locker technology, which competes with similar services from MP3.com, and on gaining content from partners.

"We have found the need for original editorial content isn't as strong as when we launched," said spokeswoman Paula Batson. "We've never been heavy on editorial content in any case."

Batson said the job losses were not results of funding constraints, as has been the case with a rash of online company layoffs in recent months. The company has just completed a $25 million second round of funding, she added.

Myplay is one of several companies trying to position themselves as the leading location for consumers to store MP3 and other music files online so they can later listen to them from any computer or Net-connected device. Analysts have said this could be a popular service once streaming devices such as wireless MP3 players or Net-connected car stereos reach the market. Myplay has taken a more cautious approach than MP3.com, which offered a more ambitious version of the same service, and was subsequently sued by the major record labels.

But if that cautious approach has kept Myplay out of courts, it's also left the company without major-label partnerships. MP3.com has settled its legal disputes with four of the five majors, signing licensing deals that will make the locker business more valuable if it is able to weather the last of its legal difficulties.

Another rival, Musicbank, has its own licensing deal with Seagram's Universal Music Group, the last holdout in the MP3.com case.

Myplay did discuss a buyout or investment by Yahoo earlier in the year, but those talks foundered over price disagreements and partly because of Myplay's relationship with America Online, sources told News.com.

 

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