blueTunes, a streaming music site that lets you stream your music library from the cloud to any computer, is launching a new desktop app tonight that looks to make the service an even more compelling alternative to other online music sites and possibly even iTunes.
For those who aren’t familiar with the service, blueTunes lets you scan your hard drive for music files and upload them to the site’s servers, which you can then stream from wherever you are. This process would take a very long time (and quite a bit of bandwidth) were it not for a shortcut the site is employing: while you still have to prove that you own your music (the site uses a Java app to check through you music folders), the site only makes you upload songs that aren’t already in its database. In other words, unless you’ve got a really eclectic collection, you’ll be able to transfer your library to the cloud without having to move many files.
The benefits of a desktop client for this kind of music service are fairly obvious. When you’re using a site like MySpace Music, you generally have to keep a browser tab open at all times, and when tabs are grouped together in the browser it can be tricky to figure out which one is actually controlling the music coming out of your speakers. And there’s always the possibility that your browser will freeze as you peruse another site, taking down your tunes with it. Using blueTunes through a desktop app, you don’t have to deal with these problems.
It’s a welcome addition to the service, and it’s nice to see that the startup is still chugging along without having to come up against any legal hurdles. As we noted when we last covered the site, blueTunes’ easy-upload model sounds a lot like the one that was used by MP3.com in 2000, which was later sued into oblivion. That said, founder Nick Alexander says that blueTunes hasn’t had any issues with the labels, and that the company is taking as many precautions as possible.
Another music site that also lets you stream your music library from the cloud is Lala, which we’ve been following pretty closely since the service’s relaunch last year. As with blueTunes, Lala only makes you upload songs that aren’t already in its library, and Lala also has the benefit of deals with all the major record labels, so it doesn’t have to worry about any potential legal troubles.