Do any of you remember Kazaa? Or should I say KaZaA? The peer-to-peer music sharing service was temporarily shut down in 2006, but not before it was forced to pay $100 million in damages to Universal Music, Sony BMG, EMI and Warner Music. That same year, Kazaa showed the intention of relaunching as as a legal music site, but it wasn’t until 2009 that the true revival of Kazaa was set into motion.
Kazaa seems to be doing all it can to re-position itself, and compete with dominant services like Spotify and Rdio, the latter of which, incidentally, is owned by Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis, Kazaa’s original owners.
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Offering many of the same features that Spotify and Rdio already do, Kazaa was however previously accessible to Android, iPhone and iPad users only via the mobile site – and had no standalone app to speak of. Now however, iOS users can download the recently released free app which will give you instant access to all of Kazaa’s features on the go.
So what exactly are those features? With both the site, and the iPhone app, much like its competitors, you can stream on-demand songs, add songs to your favourites, or even purchase mp3s. You can create and share playlists, as well as listen to genre or artist radio stations. Kazaa also offers a pretty cool radio feature – radio stations created based on just one song. The iPhone app also gives users the option to sync their music for offline listening.
Kazaa is only available in the US for now, and for a $9.99 a month subscription you can get in on the action, after a 7 day free trial. That said, if you’re traveling, you can still access your Kazaa account from abroad.
If you don’t live in the US, you can still browse the site but all you’re going to get is 10 second previews of each song. If nothing else, you could use it to discover new songs and go off and listen to them somewhere else.
Kazaa’s transformation into a legitimate streaming site is one of the many shifts we’re witnessing online today, but whether or not it’s one that can pay off is yet to be seen, especially since rivals MOG and Rdio have both gone the subscription-free and ad-free route.