The RIAA has finally won its long running battle to have the Russian music download site AllOfMP3 shut down. The announcement came earlier this week, curiously timed to coincide with Vladimir Putin’s visit with George Bush. Coincidence? Hardly, it’s been widely speculated that the existence of sites like AllOfMP3 were a huge roadblock to Russia’s entry into the World Trade Organization.
Almost immediately after the shutdown, a new site called MP3Sparks was launched by MediaServices, AllOfMP3’s parent company. MP3Sparks offers an almost identical selection of music, pricing structure, and encoding options. The new site even supports accounts created on AllOfMp3. Or at least it did while it was online. MP3Sparks is now offline as well, and it’s unclear whether Russian authorities caught on quickly, or if the site might actually be the victim of its own success.
In another coincidence of timing, we’ve been hearing quite a bit about Universal Music Group’s efforts to play hardball with Apple. Universal is apparently refusing to resign a long term agreement to make its catalog of music available on iTunes. Instead, they’ll be negotiating on a month-to-month basis and will have the ability to pull their entire catalog from iTunes on short notice.