Nutsie launches in beta: iTunes on your phone, sort of

New service turns your iTunes playlists into streaming radio stations and lets them play on your phone, (apparently) legally.

Mobile media company Melodeo, best known for mobile radio and podcast deals with cellular carriers, has launched the public beta of a new brand: Nutsie, which allows you to upload iTunes playlists to its Web site and stream them to your cell phone. (Get it? "Nutsie?" It's "iTunes" with the letters rearranged.)

So far, it's compatible with a bunch of different cell phones: the Motorola Razr, LG CU500, Sony Ericsson W600, and a handful of Samsung and Nokia handsets. Upon signing up, you export your iTunes library to Nutsie's Web site (no word on how long that'll take) and then can stream playlists over the Web or on your cell phone thanks to a downloadable mobile client. Yes, DRM-equipped iTunes songs can be exported too.

Sounds like lawsuit bait, right? Nutsie claims it'll be able to skirt any legal problems (and we all know that Apple's very protective of its brand) by restricting the service enough so that it falls under the umbrella of Internet radio rather than a music player. For example, while you can select between playlists, those playlists can only be set in a random shuffle mode and there is no way to see what song is coming up next. You also can't skip backward or to a certain point in a song. So, essentially, it turns your iTunes playlists into standalone Web radio stations, which is certainly a tradeoff, but Nutsie points out that when an iPhone costs $600 , it might be worth making a few concessions to have your iTunes library available on your cell phone for free.

In addition, artists and labels are reimbursed every time a song is played, which makes you wonder how a service like this is going to earn money. Right now, the public beta of Nutsie is free, but parent company Melodeo is currently in talks with several cell carriers about subscription models and is additionally considering offering its own direct-to-consumer subscription plans.

But for now, the beta's free, so check it out.

 

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