Silicon Valley News

Monday, March 30, 2009

Editor Choice: Skype popular with hip hop artists

Kid Lucky, a unique hip hop artist who specializes in beatboxing, is one of over 400 million users of the internet calling service Skype. The Brooklyn, New York native, whose influences include beatboxer Doug E Fresh and singer Bobby McFerrin, combines the rhymes and rhythmic sound effects of beatboxing with spoken word and scatting as he regularly uses Skype in  jam sessions with fellow artists  from around the world.  Skype, a division of Ebay, has recently emerged as the most popular service for international calling because of its affordable rates.

Skype's popularity is spreading. The Luxembourg-based company will make its free software available to Apple's iPhone and iPod tomorrow. In May, Blackberry phones made by Research in Motion will also incorporate the software. 

Until recently, Skype's service was limited to computers. With its push into the mobile phone arena, cell phones can now make calls and text other Skype users free. They also pay lower rates than traditional phone companies charge when they use Skype to call landlines or other mobile phones. 

Earlier this year, phones running Google's Android  and Microsoft's Windows Mobile operating systems, along with Nokia phones, added the Skype software.

Apple is limiting Skype's use on the iPhone to Wi-Fi networks. Cellular operators are opposed to Skype because it is far less profitable.