Good Baboom times ahead, claims Dotcom

TOM PULLAR-STRECKER
Last updated 05:00 05/10/2013

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Kim Dotcom admits it is taking longer than he expected, but says he is making solid progress towards two innovations that could rebuild his shattered internet empire.

Twenty-two software engineers, most of them based in Portugal, are working to develop his online music service, previously dubbed Megabox and last month renamed Baboom. He says he is now in talks with Asian smartphone manufacturers that could install Baboom and free music on new phones.

Dotcom had hoped it would be sooner, but Baboom is now likely to launch next year, he said.

A new trial version of the software is due to be delivered next week.

Artists will be able to upload music to Baboom themselves and will be paid when people listen to it, cutting out intermediaries such as record labels.

Internet users will be able to listen to music for free in return for allowing a piece of software to be installed on their computers that will replace some advertisements on other websites that they visit with adverts dished up by Baboom.

But Dotcom, who is still battling extradition proceedings on United States copyright and racketeering charges, said he had adjusted the business model since the ad-replacement idea kicked up a storm of controversy in January. Some website owners had complained it would cut their income and piggy-back on their own hard work.

"We will launch that, but it is only going to target a small number of websites, primarily sites like Google," Dotcom said. "The justification for that is you can go to Google and search for any song and in two seconds you find links to ‘free' music," he said.

Dotcom was talking to smartphone manufacturers in China and Taiwan that wanted to pre-install music tracks and a Baboom app on handsets they sold.

"If you buy that phone you would automatically get free music from Baboom. Handset makers are going to pay millions for that and 90 per cent of that would go straight to the artists."

Baboom is registered as a New Zealand company.

Dotcom said Napier entrepreneur Tony Lentino and Luxembourg "entrepreneur of the year" Xavier Buck, who have also invested in his Mega online storage service, were financially backing Baboom as well.

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- The Dominion Post

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