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Online service stores entire music collections
Dec. 05, 2005

MP3tunes last week introduced Oboe, a virtual music locker that stores an entire personal music library online, making it accessible anywhere for any digital music player, the company said. The service, from the latest company of Linspire (a.k.a. Lindows) founder Michael Robertson, is compatible with multiple desktop OSes, including Linux.

The service stores "unlimited size" music lockers without upload/download bandwidth charges, based on a monthly fee, according to the company.

With their entire song collection stored online, music fans have the ability to stream music from any machine with an Internet connection as well as sync their songs to each computer and device they own, the company said.

"Five years from now, lugging around your entire music collection and plugging it in everywhere will seem as outdated as carrying around a pocketful of nickels," MP3tunes Robertson said. "It makes more sense to safely store your music online and sync it or stream it to all the places you listen to music, which is exactly what Oboe makes possible."

Oboe sets up user accounts that can store a library of files in .mp3, .wma (Windows Media), .aac (iTunes), and .ogg format, MP3tunes explains. Registered users are provided with a personal account and the Oboe Software Suite, which installs software tools to easily load online music lockers using Linux, Macintosh OS X, or Windows systems.

A Mozilla Firefox plug-in is included with the Oboe Software Suite, so music available on the Internet with its own link can be copied directly into the Oboe Locker, MP3Tunes said. Once installed, any Web site with music links ending in .mp3, .wma, .ogg or .acc trigger a small musical icon to appear after that link. Clicking on the link will sideload the track from the viewing Web site directly to the configured locker, according to the company.

Availability and cost

Both paid and free accounts are available. Paid accounts cost $39.95 per year, and provide unlimited size music lockers, 192kbps streaming, no bandwidth charges, and limitless usage of the entire beta release of the Oboe Software Suite.

Free accounts allow loading of music from the Web including the Oboe for Firefox plug-in, but are limited to 56kbps streaming in both the Oboe Locker and Oboe for iTunes plug-in. No syncing is permitted with free accounts.

Signups for the service are available here. Screenshots are here.

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