New App 6 Seconds Taps Into Radio Stations to Allow Users Free, Skippable Audio Streaming
A new app allows listeners to search for and play an unlimited number of songs for free by tapping into radio station streams from across the country. Whether radio companies will allow it continue remains to be seen.
6 Seconds scans radio stations -- over 100,000, it claims -- to allow listeners to access music on demand or to create genre-based, commercial-free radio stations.
Unlike Pandora and iHeartRadio, 6 Seconds allows listeners to endlessly skip songs. And unlike Spotify, 6 Seconds is ad-free. "Our focus right now is on making people aware of 6 Seconds and seeing if we can build an audience of music fans," app creator Michael Robertson tells Diffuser.
Robertson is a tech entrepreneur recently in the news for losing a multi-million dollar legal case over his MP3tunes service. The court ruled that MP3tunes illegally allowed users to download copyrighted music.
Robertson's new app seems to carry a little risk along with it, too -- or at least a little more music industry rabble rousing. He argues he's simply giving access to radio station streams and not broadcasting himself, which exempts him from the royalty fees radio companies pay to ASCAP and BMI.
But stations haven't explicitly given Robertson permission to tap into their streams and may not take kindly to a third-party giving listeners access to their stations. Major radio companies like iHeartMedia and Townsquare Media (which owns Diffuser) own apps for streaming their stations, where they sell their own ads -- ads that anyone listening via 6 Seconds doesn't hear.
"Radio stations want and need listeners to their streams because they make their money from audio ads," Robertson says. "In fact, thousands of radio stations are now sending us their playlist data to be included in our search engine. Having said that, if a station doesn't want to be listed in our search engine, we're happy to take them out."
Robertson's first company, MP3.com, was purchased by Vivendi/Universal for $372 million. Months earlier, Vivendi/Universal beat MP3.com in court on a copyright infringement suit.
Robertson also currently owns and operates DAR.fm, which records and plays back radio shows on demand.