AllofMP3.com Hits Web Top 1000

By Richard Menta 7/21/06

If one goes to Alexa.com and uses its traffic ranking tool they will find that AllofMP3.com has joined the top 1000 websites on the Net. As of today that site was ranked number 901.

This is a pretty impressive showing for the Russian paid download site that has drawn the ire of the British and American record industries. Those entities stepped up their actions against the service back in May when XTN Data revealed that AllofMP3.com held 14% of the British paid-download business. This is nearly double Napster's 8% market share and second only to iTunes 44% hold of the UK market.

Since those figures were released the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) asked for and won permisson from the UK courts to sue AllofMP3.com for copyright infringement.

Meanwhile, the American record industry has also directed its attentions and efforts toword stopping the service. The industry managed to propel AllofMP3.com onto the agenda of the G8 economic conference, with the US government pushing the Russian govenment to shut AllofMP3.com down as a demonstration of Russian respect for worldwide intellectual property rights.

All of this attention, of course, has increased AllofMP3's visibility and thus traffic.

But, how accurate is XTN Data's research? This is a valid question as the press is contantly bombarded with self-serving "digital research" results that renders every dramatic claim suspect. After all, does anyone really believe that iTunes delivers more tracks than the free P2P networks?

Another quick look on Alexa shows that Napster is ranked 2,040, a strong showing but consistantly below that of AllofMP3.com. The chart to the right illustrates this, comparing the traffic of both sites over the last several months. The chart support XTN's conclusions betwen those two sites. That AllofMP3.com draws so well in itself says a lot, because Napster is one of the Internet's best branded names. It was the press generated from the record industry lawsuits against the original Napster that made it a household name. It could very easily happen again.

Attempting to perform the same comparison between AllofMP3.com and iTunes was not as fruitful. Surprisingly, iTunes.com traffic was far less than either Napster or AllofMP3.com, charting in at 91,786. This most likely reflects the fact that most users enter the iTunes music store via the iTunes application, which bypasses the web site.

It would have been interesting to map iTunes peaks and valleys against AllofMP3.com's to see if there are any interesting trends. For the most part AllofMP3.com has been stable with a few sharp spikes coming from the (free) press generated from the record industry's legal threats. Overall, its traffic is modestly higher than a few months ago.

September 1st is a key date for AllofMP3.com. That is when an amendment to Russian law covering online distribution of creative works goes into effect. When that happens AllofMP3.com will need to change, requiring it to come to some agreement with the worldwide record industry. Their problem is that the industry will most likely refuse to license the site, even if the company is willing to raise prices and sell only tracks with digital rights management technology. Unless AllofMP3.com's principals are deft at Russian politics, it could be over.

But with traffic this strong, does it really serve the record industry to kill the service rather than tame it? That depends if the industry has a strategy to satisfy an audience weened on DRM-free tracks for a dime.

Other MP3 stories:
DRM is Like Paying for Ice
Review: Neuros MPEG4 Video Recorder 2


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