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Biography: Nathan M. Schulhof
Nathan Schulhof, the inventor of the MP3 player, presents his innovative products including the Listen Up Player and the $99 ZVUE Video Player.

So what do you do after inventing one of the more popular technologies of the past decade - the MP3 player?

Well, if you're Nathan Schulhof and you already have more than 35 years as a successful serial entrepreneur to your credit, chances are you do what most in your position do - consult, invest, and look for the next big thing.

As shown by the four U.S. Patents bearing his name {5,557,541; 5,572,442; 5,841,979and 5,914,941), Nathan M. Schulhof (59) was the visionary behind the devices known today by most people as MP3 players – the ipod!

As envisioned by Schulhof in the early 1990s when he founded the company with which to launch his vision --- Information Highway Media Corp. (later renamed Audio Highway and then audiohighway.com), such portable devices would allow the selection, retrieval, storage and playback of audio content delivered to the device via the Internet or another broadband delivery system. These handheld systems would also include a high- capacity storage medium, basic control unit, mobile control unit, a faster-than-real-time recording mechanism, and a playback system designed to detect playback resolution.

Schulhof completed the first prototype of his invention in 1994 that was commercialized by Schulhof's team in 1996 as the Listen Up Player. The Listen Up device won an Innovations award from the Consumer Electronics Show in January 1997 and was later selected to receive the People's Choice award from the Upside Magazine/David Coursey Internet Showcase conference in 1998.

Schulhof's invention has continued on to become a near-ubiquitous device, particularly among teenagers and young adults.

For more than 35 years, Schulhof has been involved in a wide variety of entrepreneurial ventures, ranging various entrepreneurial adventures as a young man growing up near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to starting an air charter service in Florida in the 1970s.

Schulhof entered the technology world in the late 1970s when he began working on a software idea that eventually bore fruit as Silicon Valley Systems, the developer of Word Handler, the first and best-selling high-resolution graphics word processor for the Apple II computer. SVS was also the first technology firm to implement a telemarketing effort targeting the retail channel.

Prior to co-founding audiohighway.com, Schulhof formed TestDrive Corporation, a pioneer in the distribution of encrypted computer software on CD-ROM and the first company to distribute a CD-ROM inside a magazine. TestDrive was later sold to R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co.

Through the years, Schulhof has been extensively quoted and featured in technology and consumer media, including pieces in the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Businessweek, Inc., Success, among others. He has been the keynote speaker at industry events (including COMDEX, CES, Fall Internet World and Apple Computer's Independent Developer Conference, among others), and has raised tens of millions of dollars in private and public equity.

He also participated in the DotCom craze of the late 1990s, leading the transformation of Information Highway Media Corporation into audiohighway.com, one of the leading destination web sites for downloading and streaming media in the world. Schulhof also helped take audiohighway.com public on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

In 2003, Schulhof became President of Hand-held Entertainment, when on January 16, 2004, his world changed. Schulhof had complained of a toothache which his dentist treated and dismissed. Although he felt he was fighting influenza, he continued to meet work demands traveling across the world twice in December and within the state to meet company milestones. On the 16th, Schulhof collapsed and was rushed to the hospital where he went into a coma. Schulhof’s body was shutting down as a severe Group A streptococcal infection engulfed his body-- the same bacterial species that caused the Muppet master, Jim Henson’s death in 1990. For two years, Schulhof fought to recover his memory and gain control of his arm’s constant involuntary, unwanted movements.

By 2006, Schulhof became busy with Bio-Tech and technology which concentrate on helping people live better and more comfortable lives.

Today, Schulhof has recovered and finds life a precious and wonderful gift. He has slowed down and divides his time between L.A. and Los Gatos, CA., and resides in Solvang CA. Schulhof’s current focus is dedicated to finding a more productive use of alternative energy. In April of 2008, he co-founded a company called Solar Components to do just that.

Nathan Schulhof’s Visionary Firsts Include:

  • The first consumer-friendly word processor for Apple computers.
  • The first portable audio MP3 player that played content downloaded from the Internet (ListenUp Player).
  • The first patented DRM (digital rights management), patent #6549942.
  • The first media catalog Web site (audiohighway.com) with audio download software (AudioWiz) that could download audio directly into a media device.
  • The first handheld media player to play video downloaded from the Internet (ZVUE Media Player).