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Innovative site offers free music space

University alumni once again are making a name in the Internet world.

A new online music company called Myplay.com is adding to the cutting edge of the industry by offering free digital music storage.

University alumni Michael Crotty and Matt Fischer are executives at MyPlay, joining the ranks of alumni who have started Web sites like Bullseye.com, which offers online tips for investors.

Crotty, the vice president of manufacturing at Myplay, graduated from the Commerce School in 1987. Fischer, a 1995 College graduate, is the director of brand marketing and promotions. They are responsible for managing the Myplay brand as well as customer acquisition and retention.

Launched in the fall of 1999, the site offers users a free "virtual locker" to store, manage and share mp3s and other digital forms of music.

Mp3s are digital music files that run off of MyPlay's server. This service is free for all users, so myPlay generates its profits solely from advertising sponsors.

MyPlay is run by a team of employees who have expert knowledge of and experience with both the Internet and music.

"In the Internet music space, first-to-market advantage is critical," co-founder Doug Camplejohn said.

This amount of experience in a group of employees "was key in helping us set up and launch the company in a record 100 days," Camplejohn said.

Before coming to Myplay, Crowdy and Fischer worked with David Pakman, one of myplay's founders, at CDNOW, an online music, video and gifts retailer.

"Myplay was born out of two realizations. The first was that downloading music from the Internet is still a problematic experience whether in mp3 or any other format," Crotty said.

"The second reason was that, with the growth of the Internet, applications once found on the local computer are moving to the Web and becoming services," he said.

Crotty also compared myplay's free online services to those of free e-mail service companies such as Hotmail or When.com. As former vice president of marketing for CDNOW, Crotty handled all of the music retailer's advertising and consumer research. Before CDNOW's merger with N2K -- an online music retailer -- Crotty served as Senior Director of Strategic Partnerships of

N2K's Music Boulevard Network, managing N2K's distribution deals on the Internet, including partnerships with AOL, Excite, Netscape, ABC and Disney.

Before joining N2K, Crotty served as Director of Retail Marketing for Sony

Online Ventures. He also has held marketing positions at Time Warner,

Columbia House Music Club and Q2 (a division of QVC Inc). He holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School in addition to his B.S. from the Commerce School.

Myplay's agenda is to suit a person's specific music tastes. When a new member joins, he receives a virtual locker that can store up to 250 megabites of music, which translates to 60 to 70 compact disc-quality songs. A customer then can browse the Listen.com directory on myplay for music.

Instead of having to wait for a file to download, the user just drags the URL file into his locker and it is usable within seconds.

Users also can create play lists and e-mail them to friends.

"I like myplay because it eliminates downloading time and frees up my hard drive space," second-year College student Barkha Patel said.

Myplay continues to maintain its free service with revenue from advertising and sponsors. Some of their advertisers have included MTV, VHI, Intel and various record companies.

A feature recently added to the Myplay site is the "add to my locker" button. Available to any Web site that features music, this button allows a myplay customer to add that music to his locker. For instance, the button is currently on Emusic.com and offers tracks from Phish, Bush, Joe Strummer and others.

Myplay members also can now select from more than 80 free "add to locker" selections. Since myplay's inception in October, top locker tracks include "Brackish" from Artemis Records' Kittie; "Paid," from Kid Rock; "Black Mall" from Dreamworks Records' Chris Rock; and "Momentum," from independent artist Aimee Mann.

To further serve its members, myplay developed links to liner notes and discographies, as well as individualized e-mail updates on free tracks and music news.

With personalized myplay lockers, members can organize music tracks into playlists and download them onto a portable digital player.

Members can access the myplay site (www.myplay.com) from any computer to look through "locker" music selections, or listen to one of any number of "public" playlists on the myplay site, or share their playlists with friends via e-mail.

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