Blackberry has introduced a new radio app for its mobile devices that is innovative in that it’s not dedicated to a certain music service. Instead, the new app gives users easy listening access to a variety of music services and platforms. Clear Channel’s iheartradio, Slacker, and Corus stations are included in the Beta.
In the absence of an organization to lead the way with integrating apps and devices with stations, that job has been left to leading brands like Clear Channel and Pandora. And while it’s certainly a great thing that they are doing – both with cars as well as mobile devices – ultimately what ends up in cars and on smartphones needs to give consumers access to all rather than a limited list of stations. I don’t mean to imply that it’s entirely selfless on the part of Clear Channel or Pandora, certainly they benefit from early branding and driving more listeners to their streams. But what consumers will ultimately want is the ability to choose their own preferences from a portal that offers all the choices. Something more like RadioTime’s TuneIn app.
Blackberry’s new app takes a step in the right direction by offering several brands. I suspect we’ll see them open it up even more..
In the marketplace of streaming music services, rdio is one to keep an eye on. The on-demand service was launched last year by Skype founders Janus Friis and Niklas Zennström. Last week they revealed a new round of funding worth $17.5 million.
Rdio’s main selling point is its on demand feature that allows you to build playlists with any artists, albums, or songs that you want to listen to. Once you’ve built a playlist, you can stream it from your computer or other connected devices, and share it with your friends. You can also sync playlists to your mobile devices and listen during times when you are not connected.
On demand access to Rdio’s 5 million song library wherever you want it comes with a price – after a one week free trial Rdio charges $4.99 for access on your pc only, or $9.99 for web, mobile and other connected devices such as Sonos, a tabletop connected device that Rdio recently announced a partnership with.
Rdio’s integrated with facebook, so you can sign in with your facebook account and share music and playlists with your network of friends. In addition to playing music that you have placed in your collection or in playlists, you can choose to listen to Artist stations, or stations built from your Heavy Rotation or Collection. There’s also a recommendation feature that you can turn on or off.
Rdio’s got a lot going for it, with a nice combination of on-demand streaming as well as features that let you sit back and listen when you don’t feel like actively driving your listening experience. With kinda famous founders and the new money they’ve just rounded up, they’ve got staying power as well..
Emmis has implemented technology on all of its stations that enables visual song ID and tagging on mobile Apple devices. The system, called TagStation, was developed by Emmis Interactive, the innovative online division of Emmis, and Broadcast Electronics. Basically, it enables iPod, iTouch, iPhone and iTunes listeners to Emmis’ FM and HD stations to get artist and title on the radio display info and iTunes tagging.
What is iTunes tagging you might ask… According to info on the Apple website, it’s an easy way to hear a song on a station and click to tag that song – on a connected iPod device. Then when you sync the device with iTunes on a computer, a playlist of songs that you have tagged will show up, complete with handy links to download those songs on iTunes. Stations earn commissions on the songs sold through iTunes.
No doubt, stations also earn points with listeners for enabling this nifty technology that creates a much more interactive experience for FM and HD listeners. It is available to non-Emmis stations through either BE or Emmis Interactive.
On Pandora’s Grammy station, listeners can hear a stream of all the nominees and click to buy their favorite tracks. The channel is presented by Pandora and The Recording Academy, which is the organization that actually presents the awards. Said Tim Westergren, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Pandora, “Like the GRAMMY Awards, Pandora internet radio is about celebrating new musicians as well as honoring well-known ones. Our mission is to give people music they love and help musicians find a wider audience of listeners. A special-edition station, like this GRAMMY station, adds yet another way for listeners to enjoy and discover great music from a wide range of styles.”
Valentines Day offerings are popular this month as well. AccuRadio’s offering – Love Songs Radio – is a favorite with listeners and advertisers, according to station Founder Kurt Hanson, who says the seasonal channel is second only to their Christmas channels in terms of popular holiday themes.
I looked around for a specially programmed Groundhog day channel and couldn’t find one – probably too cute to have one that plays the same songs over and over…