Broadcasters unite on iTunes tagging; Microsoft updates Zune

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Nine of the country’s leading radio broadcasters today announced their commitment to broadcast programming from all of their FM stations that includes song tags using existing broadcasting infrastructure. The announcement comes in conjunction with Microsoft’s announcement of a new Zune MP3 player that includes an integrated FM radio tuner and all the software needed to instantly tag and retrieve songs broadcast from any Song Tagging enabled FM radio station.


Stations operated by Beasley, Bonneville, CBS Radio, Citadel, Clear Channel Radio, Cox Radio, Emmis, Entercom and Greater Media – including many that are #1 in their local market – will all be broadcasting the FM song tags. More than 450 of those are live today, with the remainder rolling out over the next several weeks.
With Microsoft’s Zune, the integrated FM tuner and WiFi connectivity enables the player to immediately retrieve the song using that also-integrated Zune music service – creating instant gratification for FM radio listeners with Zune MP3 players.

Jeff Littlejohn EVP/Distribution Development, Clear Channel, tells RBR: “I think the great thing about this technology, first of all, is it’s very simple. And the fact that it is available starting the 16th of this month over millions of devices via a simple software upgrade is great. So existing Zune MP3 players that are already out there are going to be enabled. This really takes two things that are just dying to be together—music discovery which happens on the radio, and music purchase, which is becoming more and more electronic. It puts them together so you can listen to the radio, see your song that you like on the display; click—put it in the cart; click—purchase it; download it over WiFi; and within 30 seconds, own it. I’ve played with this over the weekend and in most cases when I would tag the song and go to buy it, I would have finished purchasing and have it downloaded completely before the song finished playing on the air. This is a great instant gratification for listeners.”

The new Zune software update taps expert sources, recommendations from the Zune service and online music community, and the user’s own play data to create a dynamic, digital music experience where discovering music is easy and seamless.

• Channels. Channels are an exciting new tool for music discovery. Customers can explore channels programmed by experts from the music industry such as the Billboard Top 100, The FADER magazine and KEXP radio, in addition to workout-themed channels tailored for high, medium and low impact, and top chart channels from all genres and subgenres. The powerful Zune software will even create custom channels for each user, based on favorite artists and genres. Channels are included with a monthly Zune Pass subscription and can be synced to the device for playback on the go. For non-Zune Pass subscribers, the Channels are available for a la carte purchase.

• Personal Picks. Now the Zune software learns what kind of music users like and makes personal recommendations. When users log onto Zune Marketplace, they’ll find a new area called Picks where the Zune recommendation algorithm will suggest artists, albums and tracks based on the music they have been listening to, as well as channels they might like and listeners like them in the Zune Social.

• The Zune Social online music community. Customers can connect with millions of like-minded fans and share music via the Zune Card, a real-time playlist of each user’s favorite and recently played tracks that can be accessed on the Web or within the Zune software, or synced to the Zune device. Zune Pass subscribers can play full tracks from Zune Cards synced to their device while on the go, and now the playlists will even automatically update with the most recently played tracks when Zune connects to a wireless hot spot. It’s like subscribing to a free feed of music from the sources people trust most — their friends.