The infamous, decentralized hacktivist collective Anonymous plans to change music online with its ambitious new open platform Anontune, which it describes as the “Facebook of social music.” The group recently released a white paper condemning the current commercial model for the industry and declaring that “music needs to be set free.”
While Anontune is still in its infancy, the ideas is this: there will be no central network for music distribution, so instead of hosting music files for users to download or stream, Anontune will serve content from sites like YouTube, SoundCloud and BandCamp. According to Anonymous, this will eliminate music piracy, reduce the cost of management, improve the flexibility of technology and increase access to music across the Internet.
There are a lot of ideas and opinions on the current state of the music industry expressed in the white paper, which can be read in its entirety on the Anontune site. The paper praises streaming sites like Muziic and Pandora for their creativity, but insists that even more innovation is needed. They say another big problem with the current model is that services like Limewire and Napster make it too easy to track the users downloading the music. With Anontune, the idea is that users would have easy access to a greater amount of music without having to enter credit card numbers or other personal information.
“There would no longer be any reason for music piracy. It would become redundant,” the document states.
While the materials heavily criticize the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and the music industry as a whole, Anonymous insists that the platform is not meant as a giant middle finger to everyone. "Anontune will be very similar to radio in that it won't provide the means to download the music," a group member posted on PasteBin. "It will be closed to streaming only, and this offers some protection against piracy. In a sense, it's really not so different to existing streaming services because our restrictions and revenue model are similar. It's not as if we have no intention of cooperating with the RIAA, either. I think that would be a great choice. It's also interesting to note that our involvement places us in cooperation with existing streaming services [because we will need them]. What's not to say that this won't play out to help rather than disrupt the industry?"
A "very beta" demo version of Anontune is available for users to play around with now, while the kinks are still being worked out.