As noted earlier in the blog, I was in Salt Lake City over the last week, at a great little hotel. Said hotel offers free, open WiFi, along with wired internet in some of its rooms. But the WiFi was open…I didn’t test it, but I would guess you could pick it up pretty well outside of the hotel edifice itself. There was a homepage redirect that I’m assuming logged your MAC and issued you an IP assignment, but that took just a second, and then you had a wide open connection.
So here’s my question/idea: Is there any reason that the hotel couldn’t set up its own computer somewhere on the subnet with iTunes running? Leave the iTunes sharing open, and rip music to the computer for whatever theme you wish…over the holidays, Christmas music. Perhaps focus on local artists, or bands that play in the clubs around the hotel. I read the iTunes EULA, and there are sub-licensed sections that are pretty picky about what it can be used for…but it’s not a directly commercial use to simply have the system sitting on your subnet, is it? I only focus on iTunes because it makes streaming so easy, and with more and more hotels offering free wifi/internet access, it could be a fun marketing point….streaming music associated with the hotel/area/season.
Now, there may be a dozen issues here, from broadcast licensing (is it broadcasting?) to copyright issues (it would have to be streaming only).
That said, I think there’s a great business opportunity here. Forego iTunes, and go straight for a cheap Linux box with streaming capabilities and a decent interface…there’s software out there that you can use to put something like this together for nearly nothing. Charge the hotel for support, and take payment from artists/record companies/whoever to include their content on the server. The hotel guests get free streaming music that they may not hear anywhere else, the hotel gets a great marketing point, the artists get extra exposure…and if you could get a chain to buy in, you could make a decent amount of money on this.
So: anyone know any venture capital/angels looking for an investment? I could make this happen if I could get a hotel chain on board.