Stream music to your 3G phone!

While reading this post on Challis Hodge’s UXblog, this way-cool product idea popped into my head:

Stream music to your 3G phone!

Since there’s apparently bandwidth-a-plenty available on those over-invested in 3G networks, streaming music makes perfect sense, right?

Think of it, no longer would you be limited to the paltry 20 Gigabytes of tunes available to you via your iPod. And no, you wouldn’t listen to it on the handset speaker. The music would stream right to a little head-phone jack, to which you’d connect your favorite pair of headphones.

Extending the idea a bit: you’ve probably already got an always on internet connection with at least 128 kbps of upstream bandwidth. Maybe this could be a product you could buy for your home computer rather than a service provided by some RIAA ass-kissing corporation?

So, what do you think of my idea? Killer-app or not?

11 thoughts on “Stream music to your 3G phone!”

  1. Killer!

    And from that device you could navigate through music folders on your home computer, choose songs, and build playlists, si?

    The device-side UI poses a challenge, but I love the sound of it. I never thought of this but now it seems inevitable!


  2. Thanks for the comments, guys!

    I had a discussion with Selena about this last night. Her contention was that the RIAA would attempt to shut this down, just like they did Napster.

    What I tried to tell her was that my idea is not about music sharing (though it could be), it’s about streaming your own music, over the wireless network, to your own phone for your own ears. It’s completely different than anything the RIAA has previously tried to shut down (which, to my knowledge, have all been services to share or broadcast music). None-the-less, Selena is very stubborn, so she wouldn’t concede that I was right.

    The link Joshua posted was interesting, but it was really the same idea as the post on Challis’ site that inspired my idea. It was about downloading music to your phone. That’s just a silly idea to begin with because then you have to deal with the problem of storage. As usual, the companies who dreamt that up were just looking for opportunities to get people to buy stuff via their phones.

    The difference between their idea and mine is that with my idea, you already own the copy of the music you’re listening to. Also different is that in my idea, you stream the music to the phone rather than downloading it. Not only does this avoid the problem of having enough memory to store the songs on the phone (thus, jacking up the price of the device) but it also avoids the tricky issue of this product/service creating new copies of the music files, which I imagine the RIAA would frown upon.

    I’m honestly not sure this is a new idea – it seems almost too obvious to not have been thought of before, but until I find an example (complete with self-streaming of the music and the headphone jack built into the phone), I’m calling this idea my own.

    Maybe I should submit a patent application? Hell, if they’ll approve a patent for one-click shopping, this ought to fly through the patent office! 🙂

  3. Selena: I always assume the RIAA will try to shut down -every- innovation — that way I’m never disappointed and I’m thrilled for those innovators who they don’t quash. But remember that they didn’t shut down Shoutcast (see, which provides a very similar service, but for a wider audience and not specifically via mobile devices. I’m no lawyer but I think the wider audience would make Shoutcast much more liable to legal trouble than Brad’s idea, no?

    And remember the most important thing to remember about Napster — the RIAA shut down Napster the company, but not Napster the idea. Every day millions use peer-to-peer file-sharing clients to share music, every day more people join in. The RIAA fuss sped up the process that’s killing the huge music corporations. (And aren’t Napster’s founders far better off than they would be, had they never built Napster?)

    Joshua: That link leads to an NTT DoCoMo product that is emphatically -not- the same idea that Brad’s talking about. The DoCoMo thing is another greedy corporate music offering of a tiny selection of egregiously overpriced songs. Brad’s idea is to allow people to listen to their -own- music files that reside on their -own- computers, via their -own- wireless devices. These are very different beasts.


  4. I think this idea fits in nicely with the SliMP3 mp3 stereo component. The idea of that is that it’s a stereo component that plays MP3’s and has no storage – you just stream MP3s off of your server.

    The beauty of this is that Slim Devices has already written an open source perl demon that runs on your MP3 server (on any platform that runs perl). The SliMP3 server indexes your MP3’s, makes playlists, etc. Then it sends all of the information over HTTP to the stereo component.

    So, how hard would it be to simply port the client software for the stereo component to run on your cell phone? Like I say, the software is open source and in perl. Do any cell phones have perl interpreters? Also, lots of cell phones do have a headphone jack for those headphone pieces. The only question is whether or not they can play in stereo. I’m not really sure why they would.

    Brad M

  5. I agree this is a killer app. I have a hiptop and it’s one of the first things I started jonesing for. I think that for this to happen, there has to be an open TCP/IP network, because carriers like T-Mobile will be nervous about all-you-can-eat data plans being abused.

    Throw Andromeda (or whatever) on your server, with some password authentication.

    No closed-garden setup will do this. It’ll have to happen on an open system.

    re: MP3 playback, I have several Audrey’s around the house doing this. Including one on the exercise bike for surfing and streaming music 🙂

  6. I’m trying to work on a J2ME downloadable .wav player to play files stored on my server. Any song I have on my server I could download to my Sprint PCS Vision phone and listen to it. Warner has already offered music clips with the extension .wmg. If anybody has a app for playing .wav files on your phone please, let me know


  7. guess what, you were close:

    Just saw it, tried it, thought it was weak in the lack of video, but I personally think it’s being held back by just the problem of IP and nobody wants to get sued, or lose a buck….yet.

    Proof of concept, now let’s hope shoutcast can pull it off, I gotta say, my sprint vision has enough BW, and it’s unlimited, pretty cool to get all those stations anywhere, all the time 🙂

    time for the RIAA to bust down on shoutcast, then when I start to stream from home they can, well, you know… see the complaint department, it’s in the rear 😉

    it’s a good implementation in the fact that it shows it is possible to stream decnet audio to the handset… and with plenty of bw to spare. 1ktv did it first sure, but I didn’t like it’s quality all that much.

    60 links in google now for “sprint vision shoutcast” 😉

  8. The iPod Killer?

    Imagine listening to the mp3 music files stored on your PC or server, from anywhere, via your mobile phone/device. Just browse through your music via your device’s display, choose mp3’s to stream to the device, plug in your headphones and…

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