It’s hard to tell whether or not Apple’s iTunes Radio has been a success. They haven’t announced numbers beyond the first weekend, so who knows how it’s really doing. For those of you who do use the service, which can be accessed through iTunes on the Mac, doubleTwist has released a new Mac app, called AirPlay Recorder, which allows you to record songs played on iTunes Radio for later listening.
What the App Does
Basically the way it works is by tricking iTunes into thinking the app is an AirPlay device. Which then causes the music to go to the app, which then records it. It’s very simple, and probably very illegal (more on that later). Each track is saved in your music folder in a specialized “Recorder” folder that can then be transferred directly into iTunes.
This marks the second time that doubleTwist has released an app to rip songs from iTunes Radio. They released an Android app in January, which basically does the same thing; only it does the recording on an Android device instead of directly on the Mac.
What the app does is cool, no doubt, and it is most definitely useful to start a huge collection of music, the question is whether it’s legal or not. While we’re no lawyers here, it seems unlikely that it follows the letter of the law.
The developers claim it is legal because in the US radio and TV are available under the Fair Use clause of copyright law. “We are based in the US where recording radio and TV for personal use has been protected under fair use for decades,” writes the developer on their Google Play app page.
Of course, this takes a pretty liberal view of what radio really is. iTunes Radio isn’t exactly radio as we knew it 20 years ago before the Internet became popular.
Will the App Survive?
That’s the question isn’t it? Technologically speaking can Apple block an App like this without blocking legitimate AirPlay receivers? It would seem the only way is if they somehow have a way to block certain receivers, which is of course possible, knowing Apple.
It’ll be interesting to see how Apple responds to this, or if they will respond at all. If they have a way of blocking it, they will for sure. If they don’t have a way, chances are nothing will be said about it from Cupertino.
The AirPlay Recorder app costs $9.99, and is available on the doubleTwist website. It does have a free trial version, but will only record the first 10 seconds of each track until you make the purchase. It’s quite expensive, but since you’ll save money on buying CDs from iTunes, you’ll make it up in no time.