Streampad is a Web-based media player that gives users access to their digital music library from any computer. Similar to Songbird, it streams your personal library from the Internet but it runs completely inside any browser.
Streampad is a free service. Users download a Java desktop application that stores the metadata from all MP3 and AC3 files (protected and unprotected) it finds on your computer, including those that come from iTunes. Then, when that same user logs into Streampad from another computer, they can listen to music streamed directly from their home computer.
“The song is streamed from your own computer when you request it,” said Daniel Kantor, founder of Streampad. “When you run the Java program, it continues to run and act like a Web server so the request is going to your own system. It’s like how a peer-to-peer system would work. As you’re choosing the music, all that info is coming from Streampad, my server, but when you play that music, it comes from your computer.”
So users have to leave their home computer on in order to access their library remotely, which is not preferable for everyone. Or users with an MP3tunes account can store their music on MP3tunes and then log into MP3tunes through Streampad and play music from their “locker.”
There is a social referral aspect to the service but it’s not as good as Last.fm. Basically users can see who is streaming music and what they are listening to. If the file is a public file on the Web, like say for example, a podcast, then clicking on the URL would allow me to listen to what my friend is listening to. If it is not public but I also have it in my library, I can click on the song and Streampad will find my copy for me. If neither of these things are true but I still want to listen to what my friend is listening to, it’s up to me to go out and find it via iTunes, or some other way.
Streampad was created and funded by Kantor using PHP and MySQL as a database. It has been live for a year but Kantor officially launched a version he is proud of in May. There are approximately 5,000 users so far.