April 20, 2012 at 10:05 am

Anonymous Responds to Criticism of Its Music App, Anontune


This official demonstration of Anontune, which hosts no music and only streams it from other sources, also demonstrates a drawback of the service.`

Anonymous — yes, the people with the funny masks whom Time magazine recently named one of the “most influential people in the world” — appears to have released a music app.

Anontune (demo here), the work of software developers who claim to be a part of the collective, works by “automating what most people do online manually,” in the words of Wired.com, when they listen to music: scouring various online sources like YouTube and SoundCloud to piece together a music service from lots of different free online sources.

Plenty of other things work similarly — Tomahawk, Hype Machine, and others — and they work better, for now, anyway. We just gave this web app a brief try, and yes, it’s still a prototype, as the group claims. It’s barely functional, searching only YouTube and SoundCloud, so far as we can tell. Searching for “gaga” brings up not only Lady Gaga songs from YouTube, but random stuff like this:

So basically, it’s a playable music search engine with playlisting capabilities (like the old SeeqPod), and not a very good one at that. Granted, we have not run the “import from iPod” feature, which appears to grab metadata from any iPod connected as a hard drive to try to match the songs against SoundCloud, YouTube, and eventually whatever other sources Anontune hooks up to, creating a sort of cloud-based replica of the iPod.

For now, this thing is a curiosity, more than anything. To be fair, its creators acknowledge that there’s still plenty of work to be done, writing, “Disregard the page design, this will be improved soon” and offering a whitepaper (.pdf) that explains where it’s going.

For the curious, here’s how the creators of Anontune responded to criticism of their app following the above-linked Wired.com article, written in the flat “missive from an important person” style typical of the group’s communiques. In it, they address the Tomahawk comparison and clarify that you don’t need to run their Java applet in order to use Anontune, so long as other people decide to run it:

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