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'Beatles downloader' skanks over to iPhone

BlueBeat shrugs off injunction to stream playlists

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The Californian website injuncted for selling Beatles catalogue downloads at 25 cents a pop last year has refused to let a little legal difficulty hamper its progress and has expanded its reach to the iPhone.

Last November EMI secured an injunction against BlueBeat.com and its owner Hank Risan, after a judge rejected claims that BlueBeat was pushing "psychoacoustic simulations" of the tracks which were therefore copyright exempt. The judge, seeming to agree with EMI's position in the absence of details of the process involved, concluded there was no "meaningful difference between Bluebeat's recordings and the originals".

Well, no matter, BlueBeat has revamped its model and shipped it over to iTunes, with an app that brings its revamped offering, which consists of "streaming up to 160 kbps to your iPhone or iPod Touch" or, put another way, "BlueBeat transmits simulated live musical performances for free at 160 and 320 kb/s."

The free iPhone app, released yesterday, offers the same service you can access on the firm's website.

This consists of playlists. One example, Bou's Golden Oldies, which promises "music from my childhood I liked", includes a selection of Beatles tracks. We were assured while listening to Daytripper that "You are listening to fully-licensed simulated performances". Frankly, we couldn't tell the difference.

You can generate a "playlist" simply by hitting a button - once you've set up a free membership and, possibly, installed BlueBeat's "proprietary software".

The site will also happily point you towards Amazon, where you can buy (presumably non-psychoacoustic copies of) whatever you've been listening to.

Be warned though, the app is rated 12 for infrequent mild sexual content or nudity, mild suggestive themes, reference to booze and ciggies, and mild profanity or crude humour. Apart from that, presumably the iTunes police must think it's OK.

BlueBeat also includes helpful tips on individual genres. For example: "At its core, the blues has remained the same since its inception. Most blues feature simple, usually three-chord, progressions and have simple structures that are open to endless improvisations, both lyrical and musical."

Profound words on endless improvisation that might also apply in part to BlueBeat. ®

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