The new version of Megaupload is already one of the most highly anticipated Internet launches of 2012, but company co-founder Kim Dotcom continued to tease fans on Wednesday by bragging of the service’s supposed “exclusive” lineup of artists. Dotcom told Torrent Freak that Megaupload 2.0 will launch its own music service called “Megabox” that will feature the Black Keys, will.i.am and other artists.
Dotcom, who often updates fans via his Twitter feed, released two “Making of Megabox” videos, one of which shows a still of the “Exclusive artist” lineup that’s also said to include Rusko and Two Fingers. Dotcom and his Megaupload co-founders were arrested in a New Zealand raid January in part because they cost copyright holders $500 million, according to the Associated Press.
Dotcom reportedly earned $42 million annually while running the now-defunct illegal file-sharing service, but now claims his company will compensate artists whose music is used on the service.
“Music will be free for users who install the … App. Anyone who does not like the App can just purchase the music,” Dotcom told Torrent Freak early this summer. “These new solutions will allow content creators to keep 90% of all earnings and generate significant income from the untapped market of free downloads.”
Dotcom did not describe how artists will be paid if the downloads are free and -- aside from the video released -- the aforementioned artists have not been confirmed to be under an exclusive contract.
Megaupload.com was one of the most visited websites, attracting 50 million users a day at the height of its popularity. The site hosted illegal video streams and made it possible for users to easily share illicit media content.
The original Megaupload was shut down following Dotcom’s arrest. At the time copyright enforcers along with the RIAA and MPAA claimed it was the most powerful hub of online piracy on the Internet. Dotcom’s legal status is still uncertain, although New Zealand’s prime minister admitted that police had illegally wiretapped Dotcom’s home, according to Gizmodo.
The attention surrounding his case seems to have only emboldened Dotcom, who tweeted last week that his site is approaching a relaunch.
“Quick update on the new Mega: Code is 90% done. Servers on the way,” Dotcom tweeted. “Lawyers, partners and investors are ready. Be patient it’s coming.”