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The “is it or isn’t it legal” questions surrounding Turntable.fm are getting easier by the day.
Fresh off a licensing deal with ASCAP, which also announced an agreement with Spotify on Monday, Turntable.fm finalized a similar deal with BMI, covering the performing rights agency’s 6.5 million songs.
Cozying up to the performance right organizations is a smart step for Turntable.fm. It’s gotten around the headache of striking on-demand licenses with the labels by offering what it says is a DMCA-compliant service. But even so, those representing the performances made on Turntable.fm still need appeasing.
The service is one of the surprise hits of the summer. It’s essentially a chatroom for streaming music. Up to five users — or DJs — can select music to stream, either via a catalog provided by MediaNet or uploaded from their own collection. The only way others can hear those songs are by listening passively to the songs in real time. There’s no archived streaming, etc.
Although only in beta, it still claims some 300,000 users, and is a much buzzed-about service in the music and tech press.
Could all this just be a precursor to more on-demand streaming in the future once deals with the major labels are signed? Perhaps, but so far the founders of the company have been deathly quiet about their plans.
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