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New Gadget Could Make Music Social Again

Remember the days when you sat in a room with your friends and listened to music together? It seems almost no one shares that experience anymore, plugged into their own device. But a new gadget called miShare could change all of that, making music part of social networking again.

Nathaniel Wice, co-founder of miShare explains.

What is miShare?
It's a simple device that connects two iPods so you can transfer songs from one to the other.

How did you get the idea for miShare?
My partner was working at a cool design firm and realized he could solve the relatively complicated technical problem of putting iPods together. I'm the suit! The guy who figures out how to make a business out of it.

What made you realize it's a business?
Our gadget turns the iPod into a publishing platform, sort of like what makes YouTube such a success. But also, the iPod is an incredible phenomenon but it's really anti-social, even more than talking on a cellphone. It seemed like a great trick to give people a reason to talk to each other. We want it to be a commercial success, of course, but it would be incredibly gratifying to see people use this to make connections with each other, not just with their iPods. Which is why our logo has two people holding hands. It could be a funny pickup moment - hey, what are you listening to you on your iPod?

Is it legal? Won't the record industry get mad?
We'd be disappointed if people use it to steal songs. We have a lot of respect for artists. If you download from iTunes and pass the song onto someone else with miShare, we leave it locked. You have to hook up to a computer and put in a password or pay or whatever.

But don't forget there's a whole phenomenon of putting music into the public domain. Like the Grateful Dead. You can trade those songs from iPod to iPod all you want.

And of course you can pass around your own content.

How's business? Where can I buy a miShare?
We're still pretty much a scrappy startup. But we've gotten incredible buzz from the blogs. That's part of our story. We do no advertising. And tens of thousands of people come to our Web site. We make them in China. And we are selling direct from our website. We're also going after big chains and Apple resellers.

How did you fund the startup? Are you looking for capital?
The main costs we have are the inventories and we're managing that ourselves right now. But yes, we are looking for capital.

Any other products in the pipeline?
We've got several things in the works, under the same miShare brand. We're working on connecting devices, not necessarily iPods. We feel like the $100 price point is a little high. It may be that less expensive software can do it on the computer.

I really like the idea of people sharing their own media. It's very satisfying to put your vacation video out there, on the internet or on your iPod, away from the computer.