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Online Music Services

By pcurd

I’m a huge fan of free (as in beer), and who isn’t?, but I do get scared by free music. Free music can be found at a multitude of places but this post isn’t about where, it’s about how.

My current favourite is Seeqpod which spiders the web using something they call biomimetic search and discovery. Effectively, it is designed to mix up good ole’ fashioned guesswork and copy (hence the mimetic) the way that human minds link information and recall connections. It’s a very cool idea and from the results it gets, it works. Certainly a new approach to trawling podcasts etc. But most scary of all is the built in audio player. Not only can you search for music, as you can with some jiggery pokery in google but you can listen to it directly within the results. Isn’t that a littttle close to breaking some RIAA noses? The video player launches videos within the indexed sites video tool (for example a YouTube video opens in the recently launched external YouTube player) which at least pushes some of the load off to the video site. You could, and I would, argue that the site only indexes what is already available rather than actually distributing works however that argument hasn’t worked well before, Digg, and I can’t see it working in every case.

Is the guy who gives you stolen goods breaking the law? Yes. Is the guy who tells you where the guy who gives you stolen goods breaking the law? Pretty much, yes. It’s conspiracy to commit an offence.

More so than any legal problem, how do they intend to stay in business? There are no adverts on the site. Not even the ubiquitous Google AdSense to be seen. It’s currently a university project form UC’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory which might explain that. Perhaps a future link to Amazon will fund it? I assume that no music data crosses their servers so really all they have is an indexing business to run. The page itself is AJAX and Flash so limited bandwidth there and frequent users will have it all cached anyway.

Maybe it’s not so hard to be innovative for free these days?

I’d be interested in any music services you can recommend. Criteria are : Free as in beer, bonus points for OSS; able to find a range of music; easy; fast; Firefox compatible.