Starting a web based service is not easy and as two Hong Kong students found out, even the best intentions can lead to a potential lawsuit. After we posted news of the launch of a new free music service called Heyy.co two weeks ago, the service’s founders discovered they may be a target of litigation. We asked them to tell us what happened in their own words. This is what one founder, Andy Li, had to say.
Visitors to Heyy.co are now greeted with this icon
and told the webpage is no longer available.We wanted to create Heyy.co because we love music. As a young British girl Bethany loves listening to Capital FM. I’m American and I used to listen to KISS FM when I lived in the states. However, it is difficult to access the videos and listen to these stations in Hong Kong. So that’s why I wanted to build a website so that Bethany and I can find popular songs that are trending and discover cool new songs. Although we are living in Hong Kong we can still find whats popular in our home countries.
I found the source code for heyy.co
online and I found it was quite cool as you can create your own playlist. The problem with YouTube is that it is a video website and Spotify is cool but they have put a lot of adverts on there, which is quite annoying. We decided to buy it and then to use it. I shared it with my classmates and my sister, who really liked the site. They asked me to improve the website, particularly site performance, as well as translating the website into English and Cantonese so that people in Hong Kong can easily use it. We think that people in Hong Kong will like it as they have most likely encountered the same problem, so we put the site on the Hong Kong Golden website.
After this we changed a lot of features of the website, such as ensuring people log in with Facebook so that we could create an online community. By using Facebook profiles, a community of people is created by allowing others to see their profile picture and showing that our followers are real people. Next we got 150 users in one day, which pleased us, so we started doing online marketing and promotion. We wanted to help people enjoy listening to music and to discover popular music from around the world.
Following our feature on Localiiz and Local Media New Mobile Life, we reached 2,500 users in 10 days. The site’s following spread across Asia, as Taiwanese users caused the server to crash. Next, we added featured artists to the homepage to help people discover some Indie singers and allow people to buy such music on Amazon and iTunes. After which we were interviewed by a local newspaper who also interviewed the chairman of IFPI. He said that they are investigating the case and will investigate any copyright infringement of YouTube videos.
However, we would like to emphasise that we have no plans to monetise the site and it is strictly non-profit. We created it to help people enjoy music and not to make any revenue for advertising. The site uses YouTube and Last fm’s data to operate, so basically it is just a search engine that gets music videos from YouTube. We would like to state that we are not a corporation so in order to protect ourselves we need to shut ourselves down as we can’t afford to get sued. We are very sad to shut down the site and thank everyone who registered and gave us useful comments.