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Pencil Banner delivers almost ad-free, a la carte music streaming on the go

Mark Hachman | Dec. 10, 2014
In 2013, quietly launched a Web service that promised "free legit music you can share with anyone." Now it's taking that model to the mobile space.

A free mobile experience's mobile app will work in much the same way as it does on the Web, Daredia said. Users can choose from a list of hits, and then play them back from their subscribed services. As with the desktop app, the default player will be YouTube. won't charge for the service, and says it doesn't have any plans to "monetize" the app, either, he said.

That's somewhat important, given that YouTube will stream the audio and video when doing so, sucking up more of your data allotment than an audio-only stream from say, Spotify. Daredia said that the company won't strip out the audio from the track, and will play any ads that YouTube ties to the video itself. Right now, he added, YouTube doesn't pass any pre-roll ads, so mobile users won't experience them. 

"If YouTube does decide to pass pre-roll ads, we'll let them show up; we won't block them," Daredia said. But users can stream the song from Soundcloud or other service to save bandwidth and avoid ads, he added. 

What's interesting, of course, is that simply plays the same game YouTube does: there's no guarantee that The Who's "Pictures of Lily" is an authorized video, as it was posted by user "oi oi". But archives it, and plays it back, and none's the wiser. doesn't even identify the source. 

We asked YouTube for comment on how handles YouTube's ads, and have yet to hear any official word on the matter. (Services like Rhapsody will continue to play intermittent ads if you stream songs from that service, Daredia added.) But for now, appears to be a relatively simple, free mobile app for those who don't want to pay streaming audio subscription fees.


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