We haven’t posted anything about online music and video streaming service Muziic so far, although I’ve been aware of its existence for a while (it has bagged a lot of media coverage since its debut in March 2009 and with the release of the fun Muziic DJ tool).
The small, self-funded, father-son start up based in a small Iowa town offers its streaming service on a wide variety of platforms, including a Web player, desktop software client, Facebook, iPhone and iPad apps and more.
Questions about its legality abound, but it sure has been successful in finding an audience: the company recently added a counter to its main website showing the number of streams to date. Today, the total number of streams has surpassed a grand total of 250 million plays.
Muziic was originally launched only as a Windows application, which has now been downloaded in excess of 3 million times, according to teenage founder David Nelson. In December 2009, Muziic was released as a web-based and Facebook app. In March, Muziic landed for the iPhone, followed by the release of an iPad app. In the works: a Mac and Android app.
Muziic basically allows you to stream virtually any song or music video on-demand, tune in to hundreds of Internet radio stations, and play music and video files from your computer. You can also build playlists combining YouTube videos (with thanks to the YouTube API), local media files and content from other cloud-based services.
According to the Muziic website, it’s all ’100% free and legal’. But is it?
Considering the fact that Muziic has no deals in place with any of the labels owning the rights to the songs and albums one can stream in full using its service, I doubt big music is happy it exists in the first place (they’ve had a minor quarrel with Vevo in the past). Many a startup has tried to do this one way or another in the past, most of which have faded, sued into oblivion or sucked dry by the major record labels.
If Muziic is legal and has found a loophole somewhere, be sure it’ll be closed at some point. And if it isn’t, expect them get served a lawsuit or two, unless they’re prepared to hand off a big chunk of current and future revenues to the labels. Nelson confirms that there are no agreements with the labels in place today, but says he and his father are currently “engaged in discussions with many groups”.
Either way, its future doesn’t look super bright, 250 million streams served or not.