Allan Isfan is a co-founder of FaveQuest, a young start-up. This blog covers start-up topics.

Friday, October 20, 2006


Is this legal?

Remember when you used to record radio? That was a long time ago ... at least for me ... but this fad is coming back. In the search for free music, it is amazing what amazing tools people will come up with.

A number of MP3 players with FM tuners allow you to record the radio to your local memory. This is interesting but not necessarily that exciting at first thought. However, some of the legal tools that have popped make this a potentially very useful way to get all your music for free.

I recently downloaded a trial version of a product called Replay Music from a company called Applian The product can record the music you are streaming on the net, determine the song and artist, clip the beginning and end so that you get a neat and tidy mp3 of all the songs, complete with artist and song info! It even asks you if you want the songs added to your iTunes library!!! I tried it and was amazed by how good a job it did. With the quality from many streaming services being pretty decent, this is an amazing way to huge quantities of music for essentially nothing (except for the S/W) and all legally so far. They also have many other cool products, such as a Radio TIVO recorder.

It don't know if that's just me but this is huge once it hits the mainstream. It could certainly impact the operation of streaming services in major ways. Hints of changes are already coming. Creative recently removed a feature from their mp3 player that prevents you from recording from the built in FM tuner. This of course is pissing off lots of their customers that bought the player specifically due to that feature. Fortunately, you have to apply a "patch" for this improvement to take place. Naturally, the patch includes things some people may want so some may get suckered. There's lots of banter on the net regarding what caused Creative to pull this feature? Was it pressure from the RIAA (radio cops)? Quite likely. This is the same reason satellite radio players don't have a record function.

Before all hell breaks loose, I'm grabbing as much music as I can legally before someone shuts this down. Have fun.

Some start up stuff now. I continue to have discussions with many people, with some of the discussions being at very high levels (CEO, Chairman, VP, President, VC partner ...) and I keep being amazed about the positive feedback regarding the concept I'm shooting for. It is extremely encouraging. I will continue to have these discussions but I already know we just need to build it.

So here we are ... quit job in April ... consult on the side... dream up ideas for months ... hang by the pool with family and friends ... get serious in September ... nail down general concept in October ... get friends to help ... and start building. Seems simple doesn't it? That's the easy part, but you have to start somewhere. There is no better way to raise money than to actually build something and use that in your pitch instead of just powerpoint. Seems obvious I suppose but it wasn't obvious to me months ago.

If you are interested in start-ups, here is a great link several people forwarded me recently from a blog written by Paul Graham (I quoted some of his stuff in an earlier post). The article is entitled "The 18 Mistakes that kill startups"

Since many of you on this post come from companies developing broadband, I thought you might like the analysis I've copied below from "The New Yorker". The full link to the story is

"In the church, he presented meticulously researched, technically correct, but completely ridiculous charts and graphs. He compared various data-transfer systems: ISDN, ADSL, Wi-Fly (that is, pigeons). Then he showed a slide of a snail hitched to a tiny chariot with DVDs for wheels. If each disk contains 4.7 gigabytes of data, and if the snail (chasing a scrap of lettuce) travels at 0.000023 metres per second, the snail-system performance rate is over thirty-seven megabits per second. That blows ADSL out of the water. (There are flaws, however. As Vardi noted, “In some regions, most notably France, culinary habits may pose a denial-of-service problem.”) Dubno rang a bell and shooed Vardi from the stage."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading your blog, I started playing more with Pandora and also various streaming audio recording tools. I also noticed that the Pandora licence agreement specifically forbids the storage of their streaming audio files. Legalities aside, I easily found the directory where the streaming files are "temporarily" stored, and after renaming the appropiate files with a .mp3 suffix, I was able to replay the audio in my music player.

9:57 AM

Blogger allan isfan said...

Why didn't I think of that? Gotta love the simplicity! Good digging Mr/Mrs. anonymous and thanks for the tip!


2:02 AM


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