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New radio software: the legal Napster?

As long as you don't mind irritating DJs

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Some new fancy software from SongCatcher.com may mean you'll never have to pay for your favourite songs again. And the good thing is that it's perfectly legal.

That is according to man behind the movement James Logan. Logan's software downloads radio songs from the Net onto your hard drive and then automatically sorts them into your personal playlist. Since it is perfectly legal to record music off the radio for personal use (in the US anyway) and there is no file transfer involved, the software looks as though it will avoid the legal shenanigans that Napster is involved in.

Tracks are recognised by referring to a station's playlist and using some digital sound recognition software. From that point you'll have a list of artists' tracks and song titles which can be jiggled around as you fancy. Save or delete them or put a ban on artists you want nothing to do with. Logan is also working on a find feature - only trouble is you'll have to wait until that song is broadcast before you can get it.

So, the ups? Legal, trouble-free, free, simple to use.

The downs? Large hard disk needed - about one-and-a-half Gb for 24 hours radio listening on one station. Endless recurrence of annoying pop songs on the station's playlist. You need one of the digital radio tuners that plug into a USB port. But, most annoyingly, you will most likely pick up clips of irritating DJs who think we prefer their pathetic reflections on life rather than a good song as they talk over the start and end of the track.

Oh well. What do you want for free? ®

Related Link

SongCatcher (download the software here if you're interested)
The software's patent information

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