Muziic Cranks Up YouTube as a Steaming Music Service

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It’s no secret that, in addition to being the Internet’s premier video sharing site, Google’s YouTube is also a great source of music, featuring everything from videotaped amateur performances to fully sanctioned music videos to footage from old archival shows which (face it) are probably the only way the Internet generation is likely to get exposed to some of the great artists of yesteryear. Now, the new “YouTube media player” Muziic is taking the pixels out of the equation and tapping into YouTube purely as a source of streaming audio. The question is: will Google—and the music labels—let Muziic keep spinning YouTube’s tunes.

Developed by the father-and-son team of Mark and David Nelson (David is 15 years old), the Muziic application enables users to search music content on YouTube and assemble results lists into playlists; the Web site enables users to set up their own music playlists and channels, and users can upload songs from their own personal media collection for sharing with others via YouTube. Users can also drag and drop album art into the application; users can then combine the art with an MP3 file and automatically generate a video upload suitable for YouTube.

“It’s really the first 100% free, legal method for listening to digital music,” said David Nelson in a statement. “Typically, free music services are not completely legal; on the other hand, legal music services are not usually free. My dad and I set out to create Muziic, the music service that is both free and legal.”

The Nelsons claim Muziic is completely legal, and that under Google’s YouTube Content ID Recognition System and agreements with EMI, Sony BMG, and Universal (but not Warner Music Group), artists receive royalties for every song played on YouTube, regardless of whether it’s via the YouTube site or via the Muziic application.

Of course, even if Muziic stands up to the scrutiny of Google’s lawyers—who will not doubt look at the application and their terms of use very closely—where Muziic may run afoul of Google and the music labels is that Muziic carries none of the advertising that the companies put up alongside music content. But there’s no denying the Nelsons have put a great deal of thought and effort into their application; hopefully, they’re ready for a fight.

Muziic is a free download for Windows XP/Vista.