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Muziic, exploiter of Youtube, now available in app form

by Greg Prato on March 22, 2010 · 0 comments

If there’s one thing the music industry is cautiously optimistic about right now, it’s apps. Apps are predicted to outsell CDs in 2012. People pay for apps. People seem willing to buy music through apps.

So labels and artists alike must be super-pissed that Muziic, which 16-year-old programmer David Nelson first published as a desktop application a year ago, was recently released as an iPhone app.

The app, which allows users to search the vast, unofficial music library that is YouTube for streams of songs, and build playlists out of these streams, is available for free. It also allows users to purchase songs through iTunes, but this basically means that Muziic users can now stream unlimited music for free.

Will this signal a widespread movement toward free music apps, to the chagrin of app developers and copyright holders? It’s unclear. Nelson has been on major label radar since last year, when a website version of Muziic allowed users to watch videos from Vevo without ads. The higher-ups at Vevo, which is owned by UMG and YouTube, commanded Nelson to stop his shenanigans via e-mail and removed its videos from YouTube’s API (“application programming interface”).

There is supposedly a question of whether or not Muziic is legal, but it seems telling that Google’s army of lawyers has had an entire year to formulate an argument against Nelson and has failed to do so; a company spokesman said Muziic “appeared to violate” YouTube’s terms of service back in March 2009, but has yet to take further legal action against Nelson.

Greg Prato is a Long Island, New York-based writer, who regularly contributes to All Music Guide, RollingStone.com, and Classic Rock Magazine. He is also the author several books, including Grunge is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music. To see what he’s currently up to, scoot on over to www.myspace.com/gregpratopage

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