Musi Won Over Millions. Is the Free Music Streaming App Too Good to Be True? | EUROtoday

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Musi has confronted objections to its enterprise practices earlier than. In October 2019, the corporate filed go well with in opposition to an internet advert community, alleging that it had withheld funds owed for adverts that ran throughout the Musi app. In November that yr, the advert community filed a counter-complaint alleging that it stopped funds after discovering Musi’s enterprise was fraudulent. “Musi was knowingly and illegally ripping music off from YouTube,” the counter-complaint mentioned, alleging that when advertisers came upon, it misplaced over $7 million. A choose granted a request from Musi to dismiss the case with out prejudice in 2020.

Cherie Hu, the founding father of the music-business analysis community Water & Music, described Musi’s interface as utilitarian. It’s a spot to take heed to music and make playlists, and that’s it. Users don’t see track lyrics, details about upcoming concert events, or any options hinting at collaborations or partnerships with artists. “It’s a very generic way of curating and presenting music,” she says. Even after greater than a decade in operation, it nonetheless feels extra like a shiny CS pupil’s senior undertaking reasonably than knowledgeable product.

Musi claims to not host the music movies its customers stream, as a substitute emphasizing that these movies come from YouTube. Those movies seem inside Musi’s personal barebones interface, however some flaunt their origins with watermarks from YouTube or Vevo. Users have to sit down by video adverts proper once they open Musi and may then stream uninterrupted audio, however video adverts play silently each few songs whereas the music continues. The app additionally shows banner adverts, however customers can take away all adverts from the app for a one-time charge of $5.99.

Unlike its main rivals, Musi doesn’t supply a obtain perform, so the music stops with out entry to the web. “Candidly, this won’t be a feature ever, due to restrictions set in place by YouTube,” a Musi assist account informed a fan final yr who requested on Reddit if an offline mode was coming.

James Grimmelmann, a professor of digital and web legislation at Cornell University, says the way in which Musi operates raises various questions. “Is this copyright infringement? A license for YouTube might not be a license to Musi,” he says. “Does this violate YouTube’s terms of service in a way that YouTube could cut it off?” As of now, the solutions are unclear.

One unknown is whether or not enjoying a track on Musi will lead to the identical quantity of revenue for an artist as it could if performed straight on YouTube, particularly as streaming payouts calculations depend on a wide range of elements. The Musi assist account on Reddit has informed listeners that it does, with out offering any additional particulars or proof. It can also be unclear whether or not a rights holder who needs to take away their music from Musi would have a transparent mechanism to take action with out additionally pulling it from YouTube.

By tapping into YouTube on this approach, Musi seems to have pulled off one thing exceptional: Building a booming enterprise in streaming music with out taking over any of the legwork of placing offers with labels and distributors. That causes David Herlihy, a copyright lawyer and music business professor at Northeastern University, to explain Musi as a “bottom feeder.” He believes the app has skated by to date as a result of it’s not technically breaking any legal guidelines. “It’s legal,” he says. “They’re linking to YouTube, and YouTube has licenses.”