Music has been a killer app on the web ever since Napster met mp3 in 1999, and we’ve seen a lot of startups designing new social applications around it. Some startups are creating communities around discovering new music, others are helping you store and remotely access the music you already have. Atlanta-based Maestro is doing both.
Maestro lets you stream music from your computer across the web, for easy listening anywhere. This is a lot like what music locker services Oboe, MediaMaster, and Orb are doing with a social networking twist. Not only can you stream music from your own computer using Maestro, but you can also stream music from your friends on the network (Oboe lets you share channels with friends, but through email links). They plan on expanding to other types of media in the future.
To start streaming music, you need to download “Maestro Connector” and tell it where you stash your music. Maestro then sucks down all the meta-data (location, artist, album, length) and logs it in your profile online. From there, you can play songs complete with album art and organize your music into playlists. The songs aren’t uploaded to the service like MediaMaster, Orb, or Oboe, but instead streamed directly from your computer. The major drawback, of course, is that you can’t play your music anywhere unless you leave your main computer on.
But if your music server is off, don’t worry, because you can listen to music off your friend’s computers. Their playlists show up along with yours on your playlist page or from within an embeddable player widget like the one on the co-founder’s MySpace page. However, streaming from your friends may put an unnecessary strain on their bandwidth. I imagine some bandwidth rules will be implemented to prevent abuse. If their computer is offline too, you can still see what music they have and what their most recently played tracks were. Since they haven’t implemented any social music recommendation, these recently played lists are all you have to go on for finding new music.
Maestro is looking for funding and is currently testing amongst a small group in private beta. You can apply for an account on their site.