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I’ve been playing around with a relatively new music-sharing website called 8tracks. It allows you to create and share playlists legally.

Here’s a silly little playlist I uploaded this morning:

Using their nifty new Mac app I was able to upload this playlist directly from iTunes. It contains eight songs — one for each day of the week. Disclaimer: This is not my favorite music, but I’m a sucker for a concept. Even a silly one.

8tracks looks pretty handy. I’ve seen playlist-sharing sites before, but they had severe limitations. Some only allow you to share links to purchase the music, so you can’t actually rock out. Some allow you only to choose from their library. But 8tracks allows you to upload the music directly from your own collection, so no cut is too obscure.

For an example of something more obscure, here’s another playlist, which I constructed yesterday:

The most amazing thing to me is that this is all apparently legal. 8tracks seems to be taking the legal issues seriously and their ducks are apparently in a row.

Published inGeekyMusic & Audio


  1. How does the legality work? For instance, one of the pages says “Tracks on the 8tracks network can be included in a playlist but, due to legal requirements, will initially be limited to 30-second clips when you listen to your own mix.”

    So, if I listen to your mix, songs can be heard in their entirety and I can hear my own mix in its own entirety, but if I use songs from other people’s playlists to create a mix, I can only hear 30 seconds of those songs? If you get it, please advise.

  2. rickngentilly rickngentilly

    re: your comment at oysters’ joint.

    hey b. just wanted to give you a heads up on potato in da gumbo.

    at work all the cats in da kitchen from the ninth ward allways put a scoop of potato salad in their gumbo bowl.

    it’s a small world.

  3. Maitri: I’m no expert, but the provision you cite makes intuitive sense to me. If one could listen to full tracks uploaded by others, 8tracks would essentially become an interactive jukebox where one could hear any song one wanted for free. And that’s clearly problematic, no? So there are numerous controls in place. For example: The first time a user listens to a mix, it plays in the order specified by the creator. The user can skip forward to the next track in the mix but cannot skip back to the previous track. And on subsequent listens to the same mix, the order will be randomized. It seems designed to prevent the user from being able to effectively isolate one particular song. Legally it has something to do with the fact that this is a non-interactive service.

    Rick: That’s wild. Thanks.

  4. PJ PJ

    One of our colleagues made me promise never to let anyone know she puts potato salad in her gumbo. She also teased me mercilessly over eating my gumbo with a fork.

    It is someone you know very well B, but I’m not telling.

  5. Hi B,

    Thanks for the coverage and props! (I’m the founder of 8tracks.)


    What you described is correct. I know it’s confusing and I’m sorry for that. B, you’ve got it right re why we’re taking this approach: we have to ensure the programming is “non-interactive” from the standpoint of the listener.

    Thus, a DJ on 8tracks can upload his own tracks and make a playlist and listen to it. This is “space shifting” in same way you can move your music to an iPod, for example.

    A DJ can also tune into any other person’s playlist b/c he’s not setting the order of play and accesses the content in a radio-style manner.

    But if a DJ uses MP3s uploaded by another person for a mix he’s creating, then he (initially) only can hear a clip of the song; we include this limitation to ensure he cannot access music he doesn’t own in a “pre-determined” order. (We think we could reasonably remove this restriction and still comply with the compulsory license for webcasting, but we are taking this route for avoidance of doubt re a somewhat “gray” area of the statute.)

    Hope that helps and please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’ve any further questions!


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