MP3 records loss

Downloadable music site sees revs climb

Despite a 277% surge in fourth-quarter revenues, Internet music site MP3.com on Wednesday reported a loss of $10.6 million for the period.

Separately, Seattle-based online video and music software maker RealNetworks Inc. saw its shares rise $12 on Wednesday to close at $169.88, a gain of nearly 8% after posting its second straight profitable quarter and besting Wall Street estimates.

Its fourth-quarter revs more than doubled to $43.5 million from $20.6 million a year earlier, when the company lost $2.2 million. The results ended up becoming the talk at the National Assn. of Television Program Executives confab show floor in New Orleans throughout much of Wednesday.

San Diego-based MP3 said revenues rose to $15.3 million, compared with $613,000 for the same period a year ago (ended Dec. 31), driven by advertising revs and CD sales that quadrupled from the previous quarter.

MP3 broke even, earning $102,431 in profits last year.

Net revenues for the full year were $22 million, compared with $1.2 million in 1998. It posted a net loss of $36 million, compared with $253,000 a year ago, due to startup costs, marketing and an investment in Cox Interactive Media.

“MP3.com truly came into its own in 1999 and drove a stake deep in the ground as the one place on the Internet where, within minutes, consumers can discover, purchase, listen to and organize their music collection from any location, at any time,” said Michael Robertson, chairman and CEO of MP3. “We had tremendous topline growth this quarter, driven by a 297% rise in online advertising and a 310% increase in offline revenues from our previous quarter.”

Online pickup

MP3 is currently in the process of acquiring Seeuthere.com, an online event-planning service.

MP3 enables users to download music tracks through their PCs. Site offers 273,700 songs for download and attracts 519,000 visitors per day.

Shares of MP3 fell $1 on the news, closing at $30, a loss of 3%.

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