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Chilirec records Net radio music to your PC

Swedish start-up's software records music from Internet radio stations based on your music preferences, legally and for free.

It looks like music-playing software, such as iTunes, but it's also a kind of digital recorder.

Just press record and Chilirec grabs music from up to 100 Internet radio stations simultaneously, based on your music preferences, for free and legally.

Chilirec CEO Carina Dreifeldt
Chilirec CEO Carina Dreifeldt Chilirec

"We have had our law firm verify in detail that this is a recorder which is legally ok," Chilirec CEO and co-founder Carina Dreifeldt told CNET News.

Chilirec is yet another digital music venture from Sweden, where a debate on piracy and copyright issues seems to have inspired alternatives such as Spotify and Tunerec, all offering listening for free.

Tapping into lots of Internet radio stations, Chilirec software records dozens of songs every minute, adding up to thousands of songs on your hard drive in a single day. The legality of this and other similar software such as Ripcast and StationRipper is based on the right to record music and make a few copies for personal use.

"The hitch is that the individual must perform the actual recording," explained Dreifeldt.

This is the reason why Chilirec now launches a software that runs on users' PCs. In October 2007, an earlier test version was launched in a cloud-based model, with a patent filed for the technology.

In the cloud-based model, each user had his or her own disk space on Chilirec's servers and managed the recordings via the Internet with the PC serving as a kind of remote control. The service soon became very popular.

But record companies considered this a service in which Chilirec was making the recordings and thus Chilirec was making copyright-protected material available illegally, since licenses weren't paid.

A similar case regards the U.S. cable provider Cablevision's network-based DVR.

"We could either fight and go to court, or transform the product from a cloud-based model to a personal recorder," Dreifeldt said.

As Chilirec didn't want to go up against the recording industry, the cloud-based model was abandoned at the end of 2008, at least for now. Dreifeldt expressed some disappointment over the industry's standpoint.

"We wanted to cooperate with the record industry. The basic idea was to have a place where you could listen to the world's music, and (then) if you wanted to download a song with better quality and without radio jingles," you could, she said. That would give the record industry more music-selling opportunities.

The new software, a second beta version, was initially released only in Swedish, and the full Web site at can currently only be reached from Sweden. The software is free to use until the end of August. But eventually, Chilirec plans to offer both a free advertising-based version and a premium version that would cost about one euro a month.

CNET News gave the software a try and loaded our hard drive with a couple thousand songs in a few hours, even after narrowing the genre down to jazz.

Recorded songs are stored as MP3s and quality varies with different radio stations. Sometimes a song starts off with a radio jingle or with the end of another song.

Users can choose from a long list of radio stations and, in addition to genres, can narrow recordings to categories like "most played on radio in the U.K."

It's also possible to copy various top lists on the Internet as playlists, and to explore music already stored on the hard drive.

Chilirec is Java based and runs in the browser. Initially only Windows is supported, but Dreifeldt told Cnet News that versions for Mac and Linux will be coming later.