Web Radio — You Listen, But Who’s Watching

Is CRM coming to popular culture? Does American Idol discover real artists? A look at what a blend of radio and the Internet can be: A Radio Station Just for You

At signup, the service asks users to download software — available for Macs and PCs — that tracks the music playing on your computer. The song-counting process, called “scrobbling” by Last.fm’s chief software developer, lets the company observe shifts in popularity, spot unexpected correlations between songs, and even discover new artists — or new tracks by known artists.

To date, Last.fm has “scrobbled” 65 million tracks by 8 million artists, in just about every country in the world. As with Pandora, you can identify songs you love, which helps to tailor your radio experience. The result is a stream of music that, statistically speaking, you ought to enjoy.

[…] The royalty issue is explicitly why services like Soundflavor, Goombah and Mog don’t offer true streaming radio. Soundflavor DJ, a free player available at www.soundflavor.com, uses a collaborative filtering technique, but instead of streaming new songs, it lets you cue up songs on iTunes or Windows Media Player, then takes over D.J. responsibility, matching your initial choices with other tracks from your own collection. It is especially effective if you have a library with thousands of tracks. After every few songs, Soundflavor offers you a free track download from an independent artist, or the opportunity to buy a song that its filter suggests you might like.