DAR.fm debuts, recording streaming radio content


Most are saying the new digital audio recording service that functions like TiVo  has the potential to make a dent in record sales and subscription-based streaming talk radio programming. DAR.fm records, cuts and copies existing radio programs and distributes them to mobile devices. So, it’s DVR for radio, based on existing live streams from hundreds of stations across the internet. It also works across platforms, from phones to Roku. Users can choose from talk radio show, music genre and station lists. By clicking on music genre, for example, DAR says “By clicking the button, you are requesting DAR.fm to record content from the station selected below.”

You click on the station and select a start time and date, and stop time and date. Simple.

Founder Michael Robertson (who founded MP3.com) is launching the service with mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Palm WebOS, and Windows Phone, and will also be available on home digital audio systems like the Logitech Squeezebox.

The recordings are stored online, and users can then playback the recordings in any order, skip and rewind songs, and pause playback.

For online storage, the service uses MP3tunes, also founded by Robertson. Users can store up to 2GB of audio for free, and because the files are lower quality than most audio downloads.

Business Insider reports Robertson says DAR.com should be on solid legal ground because of the famous  Cartoon Network v. Cablevision case. Cablevision created a DVR service where all video was stored online rather than on a set-top box. Media companies sued, claiming they’re making copies without permission. But the judge said that as long as the user is hitting the record button, the company isn’t liable.

Robertson told Business Insider he doesn’t know how the record companies will feel about it. His MP3.com site let users upload their MP3s to an online source, then listen to them from anywhere. The record companies sued him, but he managed to settle and sold the domain. MP3Tunes has also faced suits from content owners which are still ongoing.

RBR-TVBR observation: The biggest drawback will be the bitrate quality of many of the recordings. You can’t compare the sound quality of a 24 kbps stream to a download from iTunes or Rhapsody. However, many younger cash-strapped kids won’t care. It’s basically the return of the cassette recorder, but a cassette recorder on steroids!