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MP3tunes founder returns with new music app

By | Published on Monday 20 April 2015

Michael Robertson

Michael Robertson – founder of and MP3tunes, and an experienced defendant in record industry litigation – has launched a new music app called 6 Seconds, it emerged last week.

The new service could also result in a raft of objections from the mainstream music and media industries, in that it scans 100,000 online radio services to find songs, artists or genres to suit a listener’s needs. Users are then seemingly tuned into any radio service playing the song, artist or genre of their choice, but they can quickly skip out of that stream to find a different tune whenever they want.

Given that users are connecting to live webcasts, the app’s brag is that it scans information about what songs any one service is playing at any one time superfast, so users can speed in to hear the track they want. Though whether dipping in and out of radio services in this way will be a satisfactory user experience remains to be seen.

As for the radio stations being scanned, well, while 6 Seconds may help them find listeners, it could just as quickly take those listeners away to a rival station. Meanwhile labels and publishers are sure to bemoan that Robertson is using the output of music radio stations to make a virtual on-demand streaming service. And radio stations are licensed by music rights owners at much more preferential rates than on-demand platforms.

Commenting on the new project, Hypebot quoted Robertson as saying last week: “6 Seconds is the first free mobile music experience with unlimited skips and search so music listeners can hear the songs they desire, more often. Listeners can favourite any song and at anytime, quickly search for their faves playing anywhere in the world”.

The new service comes as Universal Music’s long running lawsuit against Robertson, in relation to the now defunct MP3tunes digital locker and link-sharing set-up, rumbles on.

Universal inherited the lawsuit from EMI, and while the major ultimately won the legal battle (more or less), the mega-major reckons that the $5 million it was awarded for legal costs was insufficient, so it recently filed legal papers pushing for another $7 million. Which would mean total legal costs would match the $12 million in damages Robertson was ordered to pay after losing the MP3tunes case.