Songbeat is an interesting new desktop music application that lets you stream and download songs from SeeqPod, Project Playlist, Spool.fm, and iASK. Songbeat also gives you the option to 'record' music from your last.fm stations. To do this, the application records the live stream, which, according to Songbeat is perfectly legal in Germany, where the company is headquartered.
The free version of Songbeat allows you to download up to 25 songs for free, but in order to download an unlimited number of songs, users will have to pay $29.99.
As of now, Songbeat is only available for Vista and XP. Songbeat is planning to release Mac and iPhone versions next year.
Of course, there are already numerous application (online and offline) that allow users to search and play songs from various free music services. Some of the features that make Songbeat stand out are the ability to quickly import your downloaded songs to iTunes, Winamp, or the Windows Media Player, as well as its large directory of mixtapes. Songbeat also automatically downloads lyrics and album art with every song.
Besides selling the full version of Songbeat, the company hopes to make money through the 'Songbeat Discover' service, which allows users to legally buy songs from Amazon's music store and concert tickets from Ticketmaster.
There are some obvious legal questions about the service. Songbeat's founders Philip Eggersgluess and Marco Rydmann argue that Songbeat only creates a model for monetizing music that is already freely available online. However, it remains to be seen if the RIAA will agree with this line of reasoning.