Update: Thanks to the Tunesbag folks, we have 30 invites for Rev2 readers! Follow this link and sign up — the first thirty will be able to get in.
Tunesbag is a site I was pointed to by a friend, and recently let into to their invite-only beta (request to the Tunesbag folks: Rev2 readers are craving invites). The best way I can describe the service is like an iTunes for the cloud — similar to a number of music sites we’ve seen (namely Muxtape comes to mind) but much, much more open and feature-rich.
The service is complex in that it has a number of features geared toward helping the user, but a user who has used iTunes should grasp the interface fairly quickly. After logging into the site, you’re taken directly to the dashboard page. Here you can upload songs in various ways, invite friends and start sharing your music, or switch to the library mode where you can play the songs.
There are a number of ways to upload to Tunesbag, certainly useful to the user and feature-intensity put in the right area. You can download their native software for use with iTunes, Windows Media Player or Winamp and upload directly, you can upload manually using their multi-file select Window, your can point directly to the MP3 file on the web, or a personal favourite, e-mail your MP3(s) to firstname.lastname@example.org
With a Facebook app and some integration, Tunesbag allows you to make use of your social graph at Facebook to share music with and get music from them. Tunesbag allows you to invite your Facebook friends directly from the dashboard, and once they’re there, they are able to access your music and vice-versa.
If you’ve moved around computers and have had to transfer music, or worse still, lose them, you’d know the value and having it backed up elsewhere, especially on the cloud. Alternatively, if you’ve been away from your music and had the urge to access it (I know I have in the pre-iPod days), it’s not a good feeling — and it begs the question that if you can store your e-mail and documents and files in the cloud, then why not music? Tunesbag’ library solves this in that it’s the iTunes/MP3 player for the web. You can play your music, manage the meta data, or try different modes.
Piracy and legal issues aside, Tunesbag is a great service. I love the idea of having my music elsewhere and not relying on iPod/iTunes for the life of them, and certainly the social sharing application there is useful and going places. That said, I do hope Tunesbag is able to avoid the Napster situation and stay out of legal troubles. Sites like Muxtape have succeeded so far, but Tunesbag has a much open model — and specifically encourages the concept of sharing. If they’re able to stay out of the record industry’s radar, they’re going to get somewhere.