Anywhere.fm has launched a new online music player that looks and feels a lot like a web based version of the iTunes player, sans the music marketplace. Like iTunes, you can load maintain a music library, reorganize your songs into play lists, and veg out to visualizations. Anywhere.fm’s iTunes bulk uploader makes it easy to get up and running with your existing library.
The company leverages the web to add portability and a social layer to their music player. There is currently no cap on the number of songs you can upload to the player, so you can create a potentially unlimited music library you can listen to anywhere. Streampad is a nearly identical product with less polish.
Like a host of other social music startups, Anywhere.fm has also added music discovery features. While not as robust a discovery engine as a Last.fm and company, users can find new songs by listening to their friends’ play lists and will soon be able to find new friends based on a music compatibility score. However, due to copyright concerns, playlists from other users can only be streamed as radio stations. Playlists must be a couple songs long and played in a random order. Although, Anywhere.fm isn’t following official online radio play guidelines like Lala, which require station play lists to be at least three hours long before publishing.
The company competes in the increasingly crowded online music locker services like Mp3tunes, Maestro, imeem, Streampad, Songbird, and MediaMasters. The service does benefit from being simple, free, and social, but incumbents have a steady head start. Hype Machine, RadioBlogClub, and Blogmusik are also other low hassle ways to listen to music at work.
Anywhere.fm is looking to make money outside of charging users for their service. They are considering the obvious step of affiliate music sales for songs you don’t own, inserting audio ads in radio streams, and selling music directly. Currently the player lists indie music from Garage Band.com, which could turn into a direct point of sale.
Anywhere.fm is a Y Combinator startup.
Update: Good video review is here.