Michael Robertson, the mogul behind Linspire, ajaxLaunch and formerly MP3.com, has announced that his MP3tunes.com
is now offering 1GB of free online storage for your music files. The service, called Oboe, is a "music locker" that you can upload your files to on Windows, Mac, or Linux, and then listen to them via unlimited streaming wherever you are via your web browser, or sync your music collection on all of your computers and devices. In the announcement on his blog
, Robertson takes Steve Jobs to task for an interview in 2002 in which he said, "If you legally acquire music, you need to have the right to manage it on all other devices that you own," a proclamation some say Apple itself has ignored. Robertson says his goal is "to amass a large number of music lockers to compel electronics companies to build devices that will work with this open system--so you're always in control of your music." The company has also released an open API so developers can build their devices and software to sync with MP3tunes.
Though some of Robertson's previous ventures--all of ajaxLaunch, for example--have seemed a bit half-baked, I really like the sound of this, and I hope he achieves his goal. Robertson is, of course, chiefly concerned with turning a profit, so there are different tiers of service. The Free service lets you store up to 1,000 songs with a 1GB limit (so.. more like 300-some songs), a maximum of 20MB per son, and syncing for three computers. The Basic service, which will run you $19.95 per year, ups the limit to 2GB/2,000 songs, 5 PCs, and 20 playlists, and the Premium service--$39.95 per year--gives you unlimited storage, unlimited machines to sync with, and unlimited playlists, and ups the per-song limit to 40MB. Though streaming is limited to MP3, you can also back up your Windows Media and iTunes music, though their DRM will remain unchanged.