on Wednesday introduced Oboe, a “music locker” that stores a personal music library online. It’s compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems, and works with iTunes on the Mac and Windows. Oboe costs US$39.95 per year, although a limited free version is also available.
Oboe gives you an online repository for your digital music, but more than that, it also provides a way for you to sync the contents of your digital music collection between multiple computers.
Using an iTunes plug-in, Oboe synchronizes the music contents of your computer with your online music locker. If any new files have been added, Oboe will copy them to your music locker — and if it finds any music in your locker not already on the computer, it’ll copy them there too.
Oboe can also stream music online without downloading the library, so you can listen to your music from any computer you can log in from. Oboe works through a standard Web browser. The interface displays artists, albums, tracks and playlists. You can pause, skip, repeat tracks, create playlists, label music and control volume from the Web page as well. It works with .MP3, .WMA, .AAC and .OGG music formats, although MP3tunes notes that files encrypted with digital rights management (DRM) technology, like those purchased through the iTunes Music Store, may not play.
The basic free account is limited to 56Kbps streaming and doesn’t provide the syncing feature. The $39.95 per year paid account adds 192Kbps streaming, no bandwidth charges and limitless usage, as well as syncing.
Created in February, 2005, MP3tunes is the creation of MP3.com founder Michael Robertson. In addition to the Oboe software, MP3tunes also provides
an online store
of music from independent artists, encoded in MP3 format.
System requirements call for Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later and iTunes 6.0 or higher.