Michael Robertson, an online music entrepreneur who has been something of a lawsuit-magnet for record labels, has launched his newest venture, DAR.fm, and has high hopes that it will stay litigation-free. DAR.fm is a “digital audio recorder” that allows users to record their favorite internet radio shows and store them in a cloud-based service. In an interview with paidContent, Robertson explained that the legal path for such a service should be perfectly clear now, since an appeals court already ruled in 2008 that it’s not a copyright violation to offer users remote, cloud-based DVR services.
DAR.fm, which launched yesterday, offers users access to 600 radio stations and thousands of shows. A standard DAR.fm account gives a user two gigabytes of storage, which Robertson says can hold up to 100 hours of internet-radio programming. That’s because internet radio streams typically stream at a lower sound quality than MP3’s that are downloaded from iTunes or another source.
The service is both cost-free and ad-free for now; further down the road, Robertson says he’ll think about how to make money off the service, and says advertising is likely to be a key part of that.
There are other services that record internet radio, such as Radioshift. Robertson is hoping his service will have an advantage by storing music in the cloud, and offering support for a wide array of home and mobile devices.
“We’re excited about it because we think it modernizes radio, which really hasn’t changed in 100 years. This makes radio on-demand and interactive.”
Robertson’s last project cloud-based music projects-storage service MP3tunes.com, and MP3 search engine Sideload.com-were accused of violation copyright law by the EMI record label back in 2007. The case was argued in January and a decision in that case could come any day now.
He first acquired fame in the online music space by creating MP3.com, one of the first cloud-based music services. That company had to shut down after litigation brought by Universal Music Group. His chances of winning the current case are greatly improved, however; the legal landscape in this area has changed, especially after court victories by both YouTube and Veoh. Today, Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) all offer ways to store music files in the cloud as well.