DVD Jon launches ‘doubleTwist’ platform to crack Apple iTunes Store tracks

Apple iTunesdoubleTwist Corporation, “a company devoted to helping consumers liberate their media,” has unveiled its initial product offerings and announces the close of its Series A venture funding from Index Ventures and Northzone Ventures.

Founded in March 2007 by Monique Farantzos and Jon Lech Johansen (also known as DVD Jon), doubleTwist’s mission is to enable consumers to enjoy their digital media on the widest possible range of devices. Although the explosive adoption of CE devices has enabled any consumer to create and consume digital media, the process of sharing and moving media between the desktop and various devices such as mobile phones, gaming platforms and set-top boxes has become increasingly painful. doubleTwist is addressing this pain point by empowering consumers to easily share, consume and sync audio, video and photos regardless of device, file format or social network.

“When you receive an email, you can read it on your Blackberry, web mail, or Outlook. E-mail just works. With digital media such as video from a friend’s cell phone or your own iTunes playlists, it’s a jungle out there. It can be an hour-long exercise in futility to convert files to the correct format and transfer them to your Sony PSP or your phone,” said Monique Farantzos, co-founder and CEO of doubleTwist, in the press release. “The digital media landscape has become a tower of Babel, alienating and frustrating consumers. Our goal is to provide a simple and well integrated solution that the average consumer can use to eliminate the headaches associated with their expanding digital universe.”

doubleTwist is introducing a complete solution for sharing media between friends and family as well as syncing content to popular devices. The initial doubleTwist product offerings include doubleTwist desktop, an application featuring an intuitive interface for sharing, consuming and syncing personal media; and “Twist me!,” a social network application that allows users to share media directly from their profile pages. The beta release enables consumers to share media with their Facebook friends and provides sync support for the Sony PSP, Nokia N Series, Sony Ericsson Walkman & Cybershot phones, LG Viewty, and Windows Mobile smart phones such as those from HTC and Palm. Apple iPhone users will soon be able to view content they receive from friends by accessing doubleTwist from their phone’s Safari browser.

The desktop application, which currently works on Windows XP or Vista, is available as a free download at http://www.doubletwist.com. A Mac OS version of the desktop application is expected in Q2 2008. Support for additional devices will be added to doubleTwist desktop on a regular basis and consumers are encouraged to request integration with their favorite devices at doubleTwist.com.

With doubleTwist desktop, sharing content is as easy as dragging and dropping files to friends. Users simply select the friends they want to share photos, audio or video with and doubleTwist transparently uploads the files and notifies recipients of their availability.

doubleTwist has developed a “plug and play” solution for transferring and syncing media to supported devices. When a user connects a digital camera, mobile phone or PSP, media files are found and displayed on doubleTwist desktop. Users select the media they wish to transfer and the application transparently handles any necessary format conversions. The application also integrates with iTunes, allowing users to sync their music playlists and iTunes music purchases with their Sony Ericsson, Sony PSP, Windows Mobile, LG Viewty, Nokia N series phones and Amazon’s Kindle.

“We’ve built a format agnostic solution that handles the complexity of file and device compatibility so consumers don’t have to,” said Jon Lech Johansen, founder and CTO, in the press release.

“We are exited about our partnership with doubleTwist,” said Index Ventures Partner, Neil Rimer, in the press release. “doubleTwist has created a simple yet powerful solution for a growing consumer issue. Consumers will no longer tolerate having their digital media tied to a single device or platform. We believe they want the flexibility of managing media musing their preferred tools, purchase content in the store that offers them the best value, and enjoy their media on the device that offers the best playback experience. doubleTwist’s ability to liberate every consumer’s media should make it a hugely popular application.”

Source: doubleTwist Corporation

NEWS.com.au reports, “doubleTwist users can copy and use copy-protected Apple iTunes songs on many popular non-Apple devices including the Sony PSP, Nokia N-Series phones, and Windows Mobile smartphones.”

“DoubleTwist’s software also has a social file-sharing feature that lets users synchronise tracks with their friends online,” NEWS.com.au reports. “DoubleTwist’s method for opening up copy-protected formats is to replay a song in fast-forward mode and capture a copy of the audio track by re-recording it. It’s essentially the same process as when a user ‘rips,’ or copies, a CD onto a computer.”

“‘Users can only play back the music they have already purchased and they are authorized to play,’ said Monique Farantzos, 34, doubleTwists’s co-founder and chief executive,” NEWS.com.au reports.

“One hundred songs can be converted in half an hour or so,” NEWS.com.au reports. “DoubleTwist estimates the trick results in about five per cent degradation in sound-quality, similar to CD duplication.”

NEWS.com.au reports, “DoubleTwist has not informed Apple of their plans, but said that they expect no pushback.”

More in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “HMCIV” for the heads up.]

34 Comments

  1. Actually, this looks to be an all inclusive media service. videos, music, photos etc. are they just a hosting and conversions service???

    Anyone make more sense about what their service is going to do? PS, of course going for pc people makes sense since its such a pain to do anything there, but what is the issue vs Macs? Is there really a service provided.?

  2. With Apple already moving towards DRM-less music tracks (you no longer have a choice, if the song is DRM-free, it’s only offered DRM-free for the same price as DRM tracks), this new venture seems to not have much of a future.

    Still, handy to have a tool to unlock all my previously purchased DRM content.

  3. He was looking at a looming future where no one would need his “service” (iTunes begun to sell MP3, plus the Amazon store… more than likely, this would be MOST useful for those with subscription tracks from all the WMA services). So, they had to jump in now.

    If anyone’s going to go after him, it MAY be Apple (unless he asks that you allow him to authorize one of his computers to play your files) but more than likely to be the record companies. It’ll be fun to see how it plays out.

  4. It looks like copy protection breaking which is ILLEGAL! No push back sure. Lawsuit YES!!!. The RIAA, Apple, you name it will be all over them in no time.

    And I’m perfectly happy with iTunes the way it is. Buy and iPod if you want to use the service so bad. Those other players are crap compared to the iPod anyways so why go for second best when you can have it all and LEGALLY TOO!

  5. I’m sorry, but this DVD Jon is starting to look so old-fashioned and “Doesn’t Get It”. What’s with the ripping off of intellectual property?

    Sorry, there are hackers and there are pirates… in my book DVD Jon’s no hacker hero… he’s a pirate looking for cheap publicity… or in this case making a business model out of cheating.

    Sorry, it may just be me.

  6. Apple will not care. But UMG and the subscription services are going to have a boxed lunch as this will kill their model, Because subscription services you are allowed to play the track but not Burn them to CD’s. This basically bypasses their DRM, this will force the labels to sue the crap out of them or end the subscription fantasies they keep having for big profits.

  7. People like this do so much to set back the cause of DRM-Free media files. With corporations seeing the efforts being put into to stealing, their ability to trust the public at large diminishes, and they feel the need to step up their schemes rather than letting them go. Its reactionary, its human nature. DVD Jon, apparently knows this and seeks to profit from it, under the guise of being a modern day Robin Hood.

  8. This could have been useful to me just the other day actually. I was in a rental car that did not have an iPod hook up. I wanted to burn an mp3 CD (so I didn’t have to have a mess load of cds with me) to take about 50 songs with me for my trip. (the head unit was capable of playing mp3s to my surprise)

    iTunes would not let me burn my purchased music to an mp3 CD. I had to burn 5 discs as regular cds then re-import the songs as mp3s to be able to go back and burn a single concise cd. HUGE pain! Especially since I paid for the music instead of pirating it on limewire. I guess I should have just taken 5 cds with me and fumbled around with them in the car.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.