updated 04:50 pm EST, Wed November 30, 2005
MP3tunes debuts Oboe
today released Oboe, a music locker that stores an entire personal music library online--making it accessible from anywhere via the internet--and is integrated with iTunes. Music fans can stream music from any machine with an internet connection, as well as sync songs to any computer or device, including Apple's iPod digital music player. A website accompanies each Oboe account that displays artists, albums, tracks and playlists that can be streamed for online listening at 192kbps--near CD quality. Oboe accounts are available for a $40 annual subscription, and include unlimited storage with no extra bandwidth charges.
The Oboe service offers individual user accounts that can store music files in .mp3, .wma (Windows Media), .aac (iTunes), and .ogg formats. Registered users are provided with a personal account and the Oboe software suite, which installs tools to easily load online music lockers using Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows or Linux systems. The Oboe sync software will search an entire computer for music files and load all located music files into the designated online locker, creating a backup of the collection online.
Delivering integration with iTunes, a software plug-in enables access to Oboe directly from within iTunes on either Macintosh or Microsoft Windows computers. An "Oboe" entry is added to the shared music area, which can be clicked to provide access to iTunes music while playlists are synced to the online locker. Using the same plug-in, iTunes users can view the entire contents of their online libraries from within iTunes, as well as stream it.
The Oboe software suite includes a Mozilla Firefox plug-in providing music available on the internet with its own link that can be copied directly into the Oboe Locker. Once installed, any website with music links ending in .mp3, .wma, .ogg or .acc trigger a small musical icon to appear after that link which can be clicked to sideload the track from the viewing site directly to the configured locker.
Free accounts are also available that 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. Additionally, no syncing is permitted with free accounts.