Audiogalaxy Is Back. And Once Again, They’re Telling the Majors to Go F–k Themselves

“You may be too young to remember this, but… “

Back in the paleolithic late-90s, Audiogalaxy lived in the gigantic shadow of Napster.  But the fates of these two P2Ps were intricately intertwined: initially, geeks seemed like the only ones that initially knew the FTP-driven Audiogalaxy by name, until the collapse of Napster produced a vacuum of traffic.  Eventually, the RIAA came knocking, and Audiogalaxy basically shuttered in 2002.

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You could say the rest is history, but maybe it’s just beginning.  The company eventually ditched its FTP/P2P roots and rebranded as Audiogalaxy Rhapsody.  Fast-forward to this week, and Audiogalaxy is hitting the marketplace as an innovative, place-shifting cloud play with radio elements.

At a top level, this means porting your collection into the cloud, and accessing it from anywhere.  But Audiogalaxy scans collections instead of ingesting them, meaning that monstrous libraries don’t take days to upload.  And, chores like uploading and synching are out (MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC, OGG, and Apple Lossless audio files supported).

And, once ready-to-go, the refreshed Audiogalaxy uses those tracks to inform ‘Mixes,’ a hybrid download-radio concept that aims to serve tasty recommendations from millions of potential songs.  “Our service offers music fans a tunable music experience — play your own tracks anywhere without uploading, copying, or syncing, or lean back and start discovering music you don’t own via Mixes,” explained Michael Merhej, the original founder of Audiogalaxy.

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Which actually sounds pretty cool, right?  Well, here’s one group that may not think this is cool, at all: the major labels.  In a conversation this morning, Audiogalaxy told Digital Music News that SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC had been licensed for this service, but that the majors were not directly licensed. Which potentially puts Audiogalaxy into another murky zone: Apple paid handsomely to iCloud-enable its user collections, though it’s unclear if gigantic licensing payments are required for cloud-enabled usage.  In the case of Audiogalaxy, the structure is not based on track duplications or scan-n-match, but rather delivery from a user computer.  But let’s see if majors appreciate that shade of gray.

19 Responses

  1. Michael Merhej

    Really? What kind of headline is that? This has nothing to do with the Major Labels. They are getting paid via SoundExchange for our radio-style service.

    Please read our blog post for an explanation:

    Michael Merhej

    President, AG Entertainment Inc.

    • MisterSoftee

      Hey Merhej once a thief always a thief. This ISN’T Pandora but of course your going to pretend it’s that simple but let’s see how that works out for you.

    • MisterSoftee

      This is NOT Pandora sorry

      “There are also times when customers want to play specific songs that they own and love, instead of a radio-style experience. For such occasions, Audiogalaxy makes sure that their personal collection of music is always available to them no matter where they go, and is streamed directly from their computer.”

  2. lmnop

    Dear Micheal

    It appears you require a basic course in music licensing

    I. Online radio is -non-interactive- which means you can’t pick the song = SoundExchange

    here you can brush up on that here

    II. Cloud is on-demand interactive = different license

    Apple pays the labels directly for this

    • Michael Merhej


      1) There is no cloud storage.

      2) Users cannot pick specific songs and we follow the federal copyright webcasting rules. What we try to do is pick songs that will interest you – hopefully songs you haven’t heard before that you go – “oh wow” that is a great track. In Pandora you can create a channel with a specific track, we don’t even allow that – we only allow artists, cities, or genres to create a radio station. You can’t pick specific tracks to play on demand.

      Michael Merhej

  3. Drew

    So then, what does this mean: ” play your own tracks anywhere without uploading, copying, or syncing…”?

    • Michael Merhej

      Your own personal files on your own computer are streamed to your mobile device. You can also use as a personal player to play your own music. Searching is actually faster than iTunes on some computers.

      If you turn off your computer or close your laptop, you won’t be able to stream your own music to your own mobile phone. The music is not uploaded to Audiogalaxy’s servers. It is streamed in real-time from your computer.

      Apple’s iCloud scans your music then makes those files available to you anywhere you want in their format without uploading those files. “Scan and match”

      Google’s cloud music scans your music and uploads it to Google’s servers.

      We just stream it directly off your computer to your mobile device in real-time. If you turn your computer off, the music isn’t available to you anymore.

      • brooklyn habitat

        Nice ploy to avoid the licensing. But you might get sued.

  4. reverendflash

    Why all the hate? Audiogalaxy is kickass. I listen at home, at work, on my Droid, and I even pump it through my car stereo when I’m on the road. It’s all my music (thousands of tracks) wherever I go, for free. The new service is a NON-on-demand radio service similar to many already out there. The combination of the two just makes Audiogalaxy that much more functional.

  5. hereRz

    Technically speaking, a Windows or Linux instance on Amazon’s cloud service is also a computer.

    If you don’t understand what this means for the Audiogalaxy scam, then you need to talk to your webmaster (you do have your own .com for your label, right?)…

  6. MP3michael

    This article is too sensational.

    Cloud playback of your own music does not require ANY licensing. We can thank MP3tunes for this and their legal battle with EMI. This is why Amazon and Google’s cloud services don’t pay anyone for licensing. Not SoundExchange, not ASCAP, and not the major record labels.

    If playing your own songs from the cloud doesn’t require a license then obviously playing your own songs from your own computer doesn’t require a license.

    • nature boy

      Oh, Michael,

      Don’t scream victory quite yet my lad. Your case was about DMCA with the added zinger that the judge said cloud and digital redundant copies being okay. So why did Apple pay? Because who knows how the appeal goes.

  7. CLebLabs

    I like the Audio Galaxy concept and have set up a CLebLabs*(TM) account for the future, under the TITLE, CLebLabs. We have nothing to Post at this stage of development. [ ] is a Temp site for the future [ ] being developed by JANSTONAPPS:- JANSTON PtyLtd.,