As reported by Jim Dalrymple this morning, Andrew Kazmierski and Mark Davis have released
Musicast, an $18 application for the Macintosh that lets you broadcast the unprotected contents of your iTunes library over the Internet. Musicast is a tiny stone packing a big splash as it not only allows you to listen to the unprotected contents of your buddies’ iTunes libraries, but, via its web browser interface, download them to your computer as well.
Is that the sound of a phone I hear jingling in the distance?
This isn’t exactly groundbreaking work. Red Chair Software’s iPod utility,
Anapod Explorer, has let users stream and copy music over the Internet via its Anapod Xtreamer component for years.
Rogue Amoeba’s Nicecast lets you broadcast the contents of your iTunes library (or any audio on your Mac) across the Web as well (though listeners can’t download it).
The difference here is that Musicast pretty well strips away the pretense. Appearing front and center on the Musicast website:
Broadcast your Music
One of the most important parts of everyday life is music. Mac users can use GarageBand to create new music or iTunes to listen to existing music. We think sharing the music you own should be as easy as listening to it.
And that’s it. It’s a dead-simple application for sharing music with your friends. Simply launch Musicast, designate playlists that you’d like to share over the Internet, choose whether your visitors need to identify themselves, configure your router so others can tune in (the program uses port 5554), and choose the maximum number of downloads you’ll allow (the Max Downloads field allows up to 49).
When you visit a Musicast site you’ll may be asked to identify yourself — the broadcaster determines if anyone can tune in or just those in the broadcaster’s address book. Once logged in you view a stripped-down window that lists the playlists shared by the host. At the bottom of the list are two buttons — iTunes and RSS.
Click the iTunes button and iTunes launches, selects the Podcasts entry in the source list, and creates a podcast entry for the broadcast tracks. To download one of the tracks, select it from the podcast list and click the Get button.
Click the RSS link while viewing the playlists in Safari 2 and Safari’s RSS interface unfurls, showing you the names of all the tracks in the playlists. Click the link to one of the tracks and it begins playing in the browser. From the browser’s QuickTime plugin interface you can download the track by choosing Save As Source from the usual pop-up menu.
Or you can select a playlist to view its contents, click on a track, and the track will play within the browser. Again, download through the QuickTime plugin.
Although you can download protected files purchased from the iTunes Music Store you still have to authorize your Mac to play them. And yes, you can share video files stored in your iTunes library as well (with the same limitations on protected videos).
And this means what? Other than a likely C&D order for the folks behind Muiscast, it means that the discussion over what is and isn’t personal property (and that property’s legitimacy as a component of social networking) is far from over.