Music piracy is so last year.
As many Americans shift away from downloading protected content to streaming it, Web sites such as YouTube and Hulu have become increasingly popular: People realize they do not need to download songs or videos to enjoy them. Seizing on this trend, Danny Hakim ’10 combined his love for Web design and music to create snuzu.com — a Web site that indexes music from third-party hosts and allows users to instantly stream audio with the click of a button. And though a few students interviewed said they were not aware of the site, they said the idea was a good one.
Unlike YouTube, which hosts wholesale content for users to sift through, Snuzu will be totally music-centric, organizing search results by album or song title. The service also suggests different artists of the same genre. Hakim, a physics major who said he has been designing Web sites since he was 14, said he originally based the idea on the Facebook platform of tracking user actions and preferences. But he later decided users should be able to listen to the music, too, and expanded Snuzu to actually play music.
“I hope that people will take advantage of it to listen to music easily without having to download,” he said.
When asked about the murky legal situation of sharing music, Hakim said copyright laws clearly allow Web sites to compile indices — so long as the Web sites do not host the copyrighted content themselves.
This sentiment was confirmed by an official at the Yale Information Technology Services, who said the Web site would be compliant with University standards.
“In general, if you’re talking about streaming any kind of content, it’s usually compliant with copyright laws,” the ITS official said.
But Hakim has competition in the market: Web sites such as seeqpod.com, playlist.com and last.fm all offer similar services. Hakim said he was not looking to be competitive.
“The music scene is the most rapidly changing thing going on with the Internet,” he said. “I just wanted to create something useful to people.”
Even so, it seems that there may be a potential for profitability, as the service aims to become more mainstream and attract advertising dollars. Michael Ma ’09, director of technology at the Yale Entrepreneurial Society, said Web sites like snuzu.com tend to profit in the long run.
“Sites like this will tend to drain money for a while before becoming profitable, which is fairly normal. When Google bought YouTube.com for $1.6 billion, YouTube had yet to turn a profit,” he said. “But I definitely think snuzu [has] real long-term potential,” he added.
As for the impact of snuzu.com on Yale itself, seven students interviewed said they definitely found the idea interesting but are unsure of the degree to which they would use it.
“I don’t see why not,” Minh Tran ’09 said. “It seems like a good idea.”
The new version of the site, which allows users to search for music, launched Tuesday night.