nuTsie, Melodeo, HP, and Palm: what does it mean? 29
HP’s recent acquisition of the Seattle-based company Melodeo should prove to be very interesting to the future of mobile music and how smartphone users access that music. As previously reported, Melodeo is a music streaming company which allows you to sync your iTunes library to cloud based servers then back to your smartphone or PC. It seems only obvious that webOS devices will benefit from this purchase, as HP is now the parent company to both Palm and Melodeo.
What isn’t as obvious, at least not yet, is how brands outside of the HP portfolio are also going to benefit from this service if they aren’t already. Melodeo is currently partnered with all four major US carriers (plus some smaller players) to bring music and media streaming to both smartphones and computers. According to their website, Melodeo services already reach over 50 million wireless customers through these distribution partnerships.
nuTsie is just one of the music streaming services developed by Melodeo and now owned by HP. nuTsie has the potential to be as ubiquitous as iTunes when it comes to mobile music while employing some features that may win over not just webOS, Blackberry and Android users, but oddly enough, iPhone users as well. nuTsie allows users to sync their iTunes library to the cloud, enabling streaming of that music back to their smartphone or PC. What you may not know, however, is that nuTsie does more than just stream your iTunes library to your devices.
First, Melodeo built nuTsie on its own proven high-quality, low-bandwidth mobile streaming technology, eliminating the need for massive amounts of device storage or the hassles associated with side-loading music to your devices. This makes high-quality streaming of your iTunes music library available to you on your smartphone or a PC anywhere you have wireless service.
However, this is just the beginning. nuTsie not only syncs your iTunes music library, but in its next iteration, nuTsie 3.0 plans on allowing the user to sync their entire desktop music library to the cloud for unlimited streaming playback. Masterstroke? We think so. Then there is the streaming of music you don’t own feature, similar to services like Grooveshark and Pandora. nuTsie’s streaming radio features its own “Recommendations” radio, tailor made for you based on a comparison of your music library. It also features a slew of radio stations based on genre, iTunes top 100 and a long list of “Top 100s Radio” stations to name just a few. If this wasn’t already enough, nuTsie also incorporates a form of peer-to-peer sharing of playlists made by other nuTsie subscribers compiled from subscribers’ own libraries. This little innovation allows you and your friends to make playlists from your own libraries and listen to each other’s music, in its entirety, without having to actually purchase that music.
nuTsie does this all legally under what are know as “radio rules” (same as radio stations and webcasters) and FairPlay licensing. Under radio rules, the listener loses control over the music, in that any library, radio stations or playlists automatically shuffle the music allowing the user to only pause the current track or forward to the next track. There is no rewinding or repeating of tracks under radio rules. FairPlay is iTunes licensing that allows users to access music purchased from iTunes and to stream that music over the internet. It should be noted that nuTsie is currently the only non-Apple service to legally stream iTunes purchased music --thus carrying the official iTunes partner label. Also of note and good news to the music industry is that under these legal parameters artists and recording labels get paid according to the number of times a music track is played, or, of course, when a music track is purchased.
All sound too good to be true? Well there are still some limitations associated with nuTsie. First, with iTunes there are over 13 million tracks available for purchase. How many of those tracks nuTsie has licensing rights to is unclear. While nuTsie’s licensed tracks is likely in the millions don’t expect to exactly get all of your music library streamed through a nuTsie app just yet. (2008 reports for nuTsie licensed tracks reported less than 1 million tracks—yes we know, 2008 was eons ago.) Another nuTsie limitation is that not all platforms currently have a dedicated nuTsie player app available. Interestingly, smartphone platforms not yet supported with full nuTsie players are our very own Palm webOS (HP’s webOS for that matter) and Apple’s iPhone. We guess iPhones probably don’t need a nuTsie player since, after all, they have iTunes built in… No brainer there.
For supported carriers and platforms nuTsie has a one-time paid app that runs much like an ipod on smartphone devices allowing unlimited playback of all of your music. Currently supported platforms include Android, Blackberry and Windows Mobile while carrier apps include Verizon, T-mobile and Alltel. nuTsie does have some apps for iOS (Apple) and webOS, but for now they are limited to a form of paid apps like the “Top 100s by Year” app recently made available in the Palm App Catalog.
Subscribing to nuTsie is free on your PC as well as the uploading/syncing of your iTunes library. What you’ll pay for are the dedicated streaming nuTsie player apps, wireless carrier apps, or the nuTsie mini apps, again like those recently made available from HP in the App Catalog. Then there are the obvious songs you may choose to purchase while streaming music in any one of nuTsie’s various applications. Finally, it is unclear whether there will be a future cost associated with nuTsie 3.0 which is rumored to actually store your music versus matching your synced music to their servers as it currently does.
HP is not alone in its effort to become a player (pun intended) in media streaming; both Apple and Google have recently purchased the music/data services of LaLa and SimplifyMedia respectively. All things considered however, HP’s massive distribution channels and Melodeo’s proven technology may create quite the winning combination. In summary we say the future of mobile music is likely bright, loud and chock full of the music of your choosing thanks to HP’s new little company Melodeo and their streaming music service nuTsie. We’ve seen the first fruits of that purchase for webOS users with the handful of music apps available from HP in the Palm App Catalog. Let’s just hope a full-blown nuTsie player app for webOS in the very near future is literally a foregone conclusion. That will be a bright, loud and music filled day for webOS users indeed.