"Isn't it ironic," remarked a co-worker at VH1.com, "that Alanis Morissette was praised as a genius for taking millions of dollars' worth of MP3.com shares in return for sponsoring her tour, and now after a suit against the company by the record industry she's selling it off?" Sadly, VH1.com itself has no concept of irony. But we know a good opening line when we see one.
Morissette does indeed intend to sell 100,000 common shares in MP3.com and has filed the sale with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The sale of almost one-third of her shares in the San Diego-based company could mark a turning point for the troubled online music provider.
Last month, a court ruled that MP3.com had broken the law by setting up an online music database without getting a license from the Recording Industry Association of America. The RIAA had sued MP3.com over its My.MP3.com service, which instantly converts users' CDs into MP3s that can then be listened to from any computer. MP3.com has since barred access to major-label recordings.
Morissette originally agreed to let MP3.com sponsor her tour with Tori Amos last summer and said she would promote the online service for the next three years. A consulting arrangement was set up between MP3.com and Morissette's management, Atlas/Third Rail. The management group was given the option to purchase 658,653 shares in the company at 33 cents a share.
The Canadian songstress became richer than Midas when the company went public on July 21. Her shares were reportedly worth approximately $42 million. But how things have changed. As of this writing, the company's share price was quoted at 12.125 a share, down .812 in Tuesday's trading. That would make her stake of 329,328 shares worth around $3.9 million.
It may not be ironic, but it hurts. A lot.