Those familiar with Spotify and its discontents, as well as the Pink Floyd-led backlash against Pandora, may be baffled by the name MediaNet, the media distribution company at the center of a major copyright lawsuit recently filed by singer-songwriter Aimee Mann. Mann, in brief, is claiming the company has infringed on the copyright of more than 100 of her songs and asking for what could amount to $18 million in statutory damages, according to The Hollywood Reporter. But what is MediaNet, and why is it being described as "one of the world's largest but least known providers of online music"?
Despite the size and breadth of its content delivery operations, MediaNet has remained all but invisible—before now—in the music streaming debate.
In brief, while Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich, Pink Floyd, and other high-profile artists have leveled their outrage at the online radio services providing their music for free streaming while offering measly royalties in return, Mann is tracing the system to its source. Founded in 1999 by EMI, AOL, BMG, and RealNetworks and launched two years alter, MediaNet (formerly known as MusicNet) was acquired by a venture capital firm in 2005 and today provides millions of songs to an impressive roster of online music services that includes MTV, Songza, Yahoo Music, and eBay. (Spotify and Pandora are not among them.) The name change, according to its website, was meant "to better represent its expanded offering of digital video, eBooks and other media types."