Internet Underground Music Archive

The Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA) was the pioneer of online music. IUMA was started by Rob Lord, Jeff Patterson and Jon Luini from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1993, for the purpose of providing a venue for unsigned artists to share their music and communicate with their audience. IUMA's goal was to help independent artists use the Internet to distribute their music to fans while circumventing the usual distribution model of using a record company.

IUMA originally existed on Usenet newsgroups, before the World Wide Web was widely used. On March 9, 1994 CNN featured IUMA in their "Showbiz News" segment.

Around 1998, IUMA was purchased by EMusic, and moved operations from Santa Cruz, to Redwood city, Home of the Emusic offices. IUMA provided artists who registered with a free URL and web page. The artists could present their music over the Internet in stream, download, and internet radio format. Further, it provided an easy-to-use home page for the band and the ability to distribute their music with no bandwidth fees. Some of the original file formats used to encode the music were WAV, AIFF and MP2. MP3 was added later as that format became more popular.

Interesting extras included a "charts" section where bands were tracked by how many people visited their page and downloaded their music. At one point, IUMA was sending royalty checks to bands.

In 2000, IUMA offered US$5,000 to couples who named their baby "Iuma". Several families took up the offer. IUMA Flourished, hosting events such as "Music-o-mania", the largest online "Battle of the Bands" ever held. The winners were given rock star treatment, flown to San Francisco to open for Primus at the Fillmore auditorium. Early in 2006, the IUMA website disappeared from the Internet. The site had already been closed to new submissions since 2001, when EMusic downsized, eliminating most of the IUMA Staff. Despite this set back, many of IUMA's core group continued to work on a "volunteer" basis, in the hopes that IUMA could be resurrected. IUMA Was then purchased by Vitaminic, an Italian Music company. But with many of the core group now gone, After struggling for some time, IUMA finally shut down altogether.


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