Little Rock, Ark. — Alltel became the first U.S. carrier to offer a music service that lets subscribers stream select songs from their PC’s iTunes library to their cellphone.
The service, called NuTsie, is compatible with almost a dozen Alltel handsets, which download a NuTsie application over the air from Alltel’s download store. The service costs $4.99/month or $19.99 for one year. The carrier plans to expand its NuTsie-compatible handset selection.
The NuTsie application is also available as a download for seven BlackBerry models from Melodeo, the company behind NuTsie.
To stream the protected and unprotected songs in a user’s iTunes library, NuTsie does not actually place-shift songs from a user’s PC. Instead, the service matches the songs in a user’s library to the licensed songs stored in NuTsie servers, then streams only the songs in its server. As a result, not every song in a user’s PC library might get streamed to an Alltel phone or BlackBerry. Partly to compensate for that limitation, NuTsie gives users the option to stream songs not in their iTunes library. New songs would be chosen by NuTsie based on the user’s existing library, whose playlists must be uploaded to NuTsie and will appear inside the phone’s NuTsie application. New music is also available for playback from friends’ playlists and from NuTsie programmers.
Citing licensing restrictions, NuTsie doesn’t let users select songs by title or artist from their phone. Instead, a user’s iTunes songs are streamed in shuffle mode according to a NuTsie algorithm.
For Alltel, the NuTsie application is available for the following phones: Motorazr V3m and V3c, Motokrzr K1m, Motorazr2 V9m, Motorokr Z6m, LG AX565, LG Wave, LG AX8600, Samsung Muse, the Alltel Hue by Samsung and the Samsung Wafer. The NuTsie service also delivers remote access via any browser-equipped PC.
NuTsie isn’t the first service to stream music to cellphones from a user’s iTunes library. In 2007, Avvenu of Palo Alto, Calif., launched a software application that enabled Windows Mobile-based smartphones and PDA-phones, as well as browser-equipped PCs and laptops, to place-shift songs stored in a home PC’s iTunes application. Avvenu, however, streamed only unprotected music files. The company was later acquired by Nokia.