NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Cox Enterprises Inc.'s interactive division Wednesday took a $45 million stake in online music site MP3.com.
The companies also said they have formed a joint venture to create and operate a network of music-related Web sites. Cox Interactive Media and MP3.com will share advertising and e-commerce revenues through both the joint venture and MP3.com
The timing of Cox Interactive's investment couldn't be better for MP3.com, which last month filed for an initial public offering to raise $115 million.
MP3.com, a site that offers a collection of 56,000 songs for free in digital format, has been in the center of controversy surrounding the MP3 audio compression format, which allows near CD-quality music playback on personal computers.
The recording industry has been fighting the MP3 format because of piracy fears. Nonetheless, technology companies and recording artists increasingly are embracing the format.
Earlier this week, for example, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) began offering free MP3 downloads of established artists on its site.
In addition to Cox Interactive Media, Cox Enterprises' holdings include cable giant Cox Communications Inc. (COX).