is the 600-pound gorilla of the digital music world, but that hasn't stopped other folks from trying to get a piece of Apple's sizable sonic pie. The latest challenger, Beyond Oblivion, has quite an unusual business model -- rights holders get paid by the company every time a song is played using the service, regardless of that song's origin. That's right, even when you listen to illicitly obtained music, Beyond Oblivion picks up the tab. Buy a licensed device and you're in the club -- with some sort of DRM manning the velvet rope, no doubt -- where you can enjoy cloud-based tunes, free downloads, and build and share playlists (similar to the oft-rumored
, yet unseen Google Music
). Rather than recommending new tunes, a la the Genius sidebar
, Beyond Oblivion lets you follow similar-minded musical aficionados (and grab their playlists) to find hot new jams. If that sounds good to you, public beta starts April 4th, with a June 12 commercial release to follow. It's a mystery how the company will turn a profit while footing the bill for all those per-play royalties, but if it works, the cloud may be the source of your next Justin Bieber fix. Vid's after the break.