Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hacker group targets music industry

Post contributed by Michael Culpepper -

In a move sure to attract attention from the music industry, a small group of coders claiming to be part of Anonymous is putting together a social music platform. The rather ambitious goal: Create a service that seamlessly pulls up songs streaming from all around the internet.
  The project, called Anontune and still in its infancy, is designed to pull songs from third-party sources like YouTube and let anonymous users put them into playlists and share them — while keeping the service from being shut down by music industry lawsuits. This works similarly to iTunes shared music profiles, except it is meant to reach the entire web. In a way it is like Grooveshark with more selections and you would “own” the music.

One of the creators of Anontune said they met while on a hacking site and began talking about music and how the industry is operating in bad form.

Anontune works by automating what most people do online manually. After setting up an account, users can build playlists by simply typing in the names of songs they want to hear (very similar to Pandora), or they can choose from the names of songs imported from their mp3 device. Anontune's "music engine" runs in the user's browser and finds them songs on the internet. Currently most of the tracks come from YouTube and SoundCloud, but there are plans in the works to add Yahoo Music, Myspace Music, Bandcamp and others. From there, users, of which there are currently fewer than 1,000, just press play.
  In reporting the story, CNN aired a word of precaution:
(A word of caution to curious readers: The system relies on executing a Java applet. Unless you are extremely trusting or using VMWare, you should think very carefully about running code on your machine that was written by members of Anonymous.)
"The project is not so much a response to Megaupload but a response to the tycoons from the RIAA shutting down music services," the anon (member of anonymous) wrote to Wired. "You may have heard about what Anonymous has done in Operation Payback. We believe the underlying reasons for the revolt were (mostly) correct, however their approach is unlikely to change anything in the long run."
  When asked about Anontune by Wired, an RIAA spokesman declined to comment.
  The version is only about 20% complete at this time, according to one anon. They hope to get better results as people start using it. 
  This underlying technology has the possibility of exploding. All that needs to happen is for it to exit its “Darknet” arena. With the talent and skill anonymous has (if they actually are members of the group), the application should function effectively.
  If this comes out to a more public usage, it could be revolutionary. If users around the world could upload music to a cloud-like format rather than risking faulty downloads, you will see a rise in downloading (especially if it is safe).
  The activity could also bring about very harsh legal sanctions by the RIAA, trying to make an example of those that fail to pay royalties (much like in the early days of music piracy).
  Overall, the pirate in me takes over, and I would much rather see music in the hands of the public, rather than Benjamin’s in the pockets of the executives.

Source - Anontune: the new social music platform from 'Anonymous'Wired/CNN

BJB - slightly edited for style.  Official caveat - "views expressed, etc." and deal with unlicensed content at your own risk.

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