MP3.com Loses Founder, Settles With Britney Spears' Record Company

CEO Michael Robertson will head Linux start-up.

Michael Robertson, one of the architects of the digital-music revolution, stepped down Thursday (August 30) as head of MP3.com.

Robertson resigned as CEO to head another start-up, Lindows.com, which will try to popularize the Linux operating system, an MP3.com spokesperson said. MP3.com president Robin Richards will replace Robertson.

Robertson started MP3.com in 1997, and took the company public in 1999. Two years later, after millions of dollars in lawsuits by record companies and artists alleging copyright infringement — most of which were settled out of court — MP3.com was acquired by Vivendi Universal (see "Music Industry Giant Vivendi Universal Buys MP3.com"). Robertson will stay on as an adviser to Vivendi CEO Jean-Marie Messier, the spokesperson said.

Also on Thursday, MP3.com announced it had settled a copyright lawsuit with the parent company of Jive Records, the label home of Backstreet Boys and Britney Spears, the spokesperson said.

While the terms of the settlement with Zomba are confidential, Zomba did sign a licensing agreement enabling its music to be part of the My.MP3.com locker service, which allows users to listen to CDs online. The service was at the center of the MP3.com lawsuits.