Feeds

Your song's in the cloud

Mercora looks to the skies

Top three mobile application threats

Mercora, the P2P internet radio service, is borrowing a trick from MP3Tunes. The service already allows users to access their music collections from any web browser, a feature offered by Sling Media and Orb.

Within the next month, Mercora will begin to upload music that users play directly to Mercora servers.

"Once we have catalogued your music, and you've started listening, with your permission the content will be moved up to the cloud, explains Mercora CEO Srivats Sampath. "So if you want to listen and you forgot to turn on your PC that morning, you'll still be able to hear it."

Mercora, Sling, Orb and MP3Tunes all play to different strengths, but each enable digital access from any device capable of running a web browser and a streaming media player. They're disintermediating the iPod, in other words - there's no need to carry around a dedicated replica of your song collection.

It's not a new idea. Michael Robertson, founder of MP3Tunes, attempted to do this several years ago with a former venture of his, MP3.com. The start-up introduced a service, MyMP3.com, which took a copy of a legally-acquired CD the user had bought, and made a copy on MP3.com's servers. The user could then access it anywhere. Robertson won himself an RIAA lawsuit for his troubles.

Users will also be able to deep browse other user's record collections - a feature of the old Napster. (Apple's iTunes offers the ability to browser other iTunes' libraries - but only on the same LAN.)

Mercora is also ramping up its mobile efforts. After a tentative roll-out of a Windows Mobile client last autumn, a revamped version is now available, to be followed "within the next 45 days" by a Symbian version, then a Linux client. BREW will follow that - but there's no Java version planned.

Mercora makes money from mobile subscriptions - $5 a month or $60 a year. This opens up P2P radio, streaming access to 100,000 internet radio stations, as well as access to your own music on the move. The company launched with a PC subscription model, but later abandoned this scheme in favour of advertising-supported revenue.

Both internet radio and streaming make Mercora liable for webcasting royalties. But interestingly, the CEO told us he wasn't too concerned about the Copyright Board's latest schedules, which propose hefty royalty increases for webcasters.

"We're not worried because it's a replay of what happened so many years ago, when the royalty judges pulled a similar thing," Sampath tells us. "They proposed an egregious pricing model and everyone was up in arms."

"If it stands there will not be any internet radio - financially, it's impossible, as they demand 600 per cent of your revenue just to beam something over the air. But it will be negotiated down, and it will be reasonable, and everyone goes back to business," he predicts.

"We've seen this movie before." ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Bose says today is F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Chips are down at Broadcom: Thousands of workers laid off
Cellphone baseband device biz shuttered
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.