Daily Archives: March 31st, 2010

A New Streaming Service With a Twist

Michael Robertson doesn’t mince words when he talks about the flawed business model that Internet radio must operate under. Robertson, a high tech entrepreneur, founded mp3.com, a digital  music service that did not survive mostly due to copyright lawsuits by the music industry. He’s no stranger to the licensing game, and he pushes the envelope, believing that current webcasting royalty rates are prohibitive to a successful streaming business model.

Now he’s launching an Internet-radio-like service that he says won’t have to pay those royalties. “The crushing financial obligations which ate up 60% of Pandora’s total revenues last year do not apply here.” says Robertson. “Because this is the user’s own music we are not required to pay webcasting royalty rates.”

byo.fm will use Robertson’s other music platform mp3tunes.com to store a listener’s personal music collection, and stream it back to them, along with many other features that radio listeners find appealing, such as news, weather and sports, culled from the user’s favorite websites and delivered in a voice that they choose by text to speech technology. The service puts the user in the driver’s seat – letting them design playlists as well as news and talk features, and listen from anywhere with a connected device.

“We call this experimental new service byo.fm which stands for build your own radio station (or bring your own music),” says Robertson. “If you’ve got a few minutes, you can create your own truly personalized radio – what you want to hear, when you want to hear it. You’ll be able to load your favorite music, select your preferred news, traffic, weather, sports and control how much of each is on your station….Once finished, you can listen to your station from PCs, Android, iPhone, net radio devices or any web connected device.”
As for a revenue model, BYO.fm will run targeted ads inserted into the streams.

I spent some time playing around with it, and it’s fun to build your station. It’s an idea that merges cloud music storage with content offerings that make it timely and relevant. And although it currently lacks a music discovery function since users are only listening to their own library, Robertson says a “new music selector” is a feature in the works to offer listeners that option.
I’m thinking this will be a fun one to watch. And of course, may it thrive…
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