Michael Robertson

Amazon and Google's new cloud music lockers? This guy's heard it all before.

May 13, 2011: 11:16 AM ET

There's a fight ready to break out in the music-locker room. But to Michael Robertson, founder of MP3Tunes an old hand at the digital music game, it's nothing new.

Image representing Michael Robertson as depict...

Michael Robertson. Image via CrunchBase

FORTUNE -- After six years of waiting, the day Michael Robertson always knew would arrive finally got around to arriving. On Tuesday Robertson, the former CEO of MP3.com and general digital music gadfly, read the news that Google (GOOG) was releasing a service that allowed people to upload their music to the cloud. A few weeks earlier, Amazon (AMZN) had released its own product, Cloud Drive, that let people listen to their music on whatever computer/phone/web-connected phonograph they wanted, even if the music wasn't actually stored on that device. After years of promises it seems the future, or at least the one that involves omnipresent music, has finally become the present.

Except Robertson built that future five years ago. That's when he self-funded MP3Tunes.com, a site that does more or less exactly what Google and Amazon's cloud lockers do. And yet it's the big guys' debut that garners the attention. "It's always a bit frustrating because every time Microsoft (MSFT) scratches their nose, everbody writes about them. Every time Google changes their hair, everybody writes about them. Every time Amazon does something everybody writes about them," Robertson says.

This is, of course, not a problem unique to MP3Tunes. Many startups' only vote of confidence comes when a bigger company copies its idea. But Robertson appears to have a strategy to not get swept under. He's going vigilante. More

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