MP3tunes – Robertson Returns to MP3

Robertson launches MP3TunesMichael Robertson, one of the founders of, is to return to the world of downloaded music.

Full details will be coming out next week, but the essence is, Robertson feels ‘compelled’ to make paid-for music available in MP3 format. In his words ‘certain market forces are trying to drive consumers away from MP3 towards proprietary systems, which lock out some consumers and force everyone to buy a particular company’s player or software program.’ Can anyone think of who he’s might be aiming his comments at?

The new venture, MP3tunes, will sell high-quality music downloads online, in MP3 format – therefore not protected by DRM (Digital Rights Management). Customers will be free to do as they will with the track once it’s been paid for and downloaded. has been selling MP3’s for close to a year and many were surprised to hear Steve Beckett, managing director and co-founder of Warp Records and say, “We still don’t know if it was the right decision,” at the recent Midem music conference in Cannes, France.

Currently it’s unclear where the music for MP3Tunes will be coming from. Given the records companies keenness on DRM, it’s unlikely to be them. It could be new artists that promoted in its heyday.

It’s quite surprising that Robertson has friends in the music business. He irritated them considerably during the days of and ended up being sued for an estimated $118 million in damages in a copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Universal Music Group.

Since leaving when it sold to Vivendi Universal, with a few wheelbarrows of cash, he’s been pushing Linux as a desktop replacement with his company Linspire, originally called Lindows. It’s highly possible that he’s been locked out of being involved with music download since the sale of