AllOfMp3, the popular online music store, has been shut down by the Russian government. Pressure from the United States, and a refusal to enter the World Trade Organisation (WTO) convinced the Kremlin to take the website down for good.
Before the shutdown AllOfMP3 had nearly 6 million users who were able to download songs and albums for a fraction of the price from authorized alternatives such as the iTunes Store. MP3s were sold for $0.20 per song, or less.
AllOfMP3 has been a thorn in the side of the RIAA and the US government for years. Last year, U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab said that if Russia wants to join the WTO, they should shut down the pirate music website [AllOfMP3] that is robbing U.S. recording companies of sales.
In an interview with P2Pnet, the owners of AllOffMP3 later said that Schwab completely and deliberately mischaracterized AllofMP3, “it is irresponsible to use AllofMP3.com as a negotiating instrument in an attempt to extract concessions from Russia”, thay added. But now it seems like president Putin has some good news to tell Bush today, a mere coincidence of course.
It is not clear how effective the shutdown of AllOfMP3 will be. Most users will probably move to MP3sparks, a similar service with a similar setup, launched by the same company. This site is not illegal under Russian law because they use a different licensing model.
Last December the Danish ISP “Perspectiv” decided to block access to AllOfMP3 for all their users. In a response, The Pirate Bay, working together with the pro-piracy lobby PiratbyrÃ¥n, decided to block all Perspektiv’s customers from accessing its site. Not long after that “Perspectiv” reconsidered their position, and their customers were allowed to access the online music store again.
My gut feeling says that these “grey market” MP3 sites are just another Hydra.