“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.
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.
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.