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RAIN 3/17: We7, Yahoo part of new UK "cloud radio" consortium

Posted on: 03/17/2011

GROUP FUNDED BY UK GOV’T BOARD WILL LAUNCHAPOLLO” BY NEXT YEAR

Yahoo, We7, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) and digital agency Somethin’ Else form a new consortium, funded with £1.8 million from the Technology Strategy Board — which is in turn funded by the UK government. The goal of the consortium is reportedly to develop a “cloud radio” service codenamed “Apollo” which should be ready by next year.

There aren’t many details to go on yet, as PaidContent reports. The take-away for now is that some big names in online music have come together to create some sort of new service.

“The focus for Apollo will be to develop next-generation personal radio and music services that can work across any Internet-connected device, such as mobiles, tablets and web TVs,” the group’s announcement states.

Beyond that, it’s yet to be seen what kind of service this will be, much less what its impact may be on UK and international online radio. Stay tuned.

UK service We7 announced late last year that it would move away from on-demand music and instead focus on Internet radio. “Becoming the Pandora plus of the UK and Europe would be a great aspiration to have,” We7’s CEO said then (RAIN coverage here).

“Apollo would seem to be an enlargening of that idea,” observes PaidContent (here).

For sports fans keeping track at home, this means we have three major Internet radio developments underway in the UK. First, there’s Radioplayer, the all-in-one platform (RAIN coverage here and here). Then there’s the BBC’s coming radio and podcast player, meant to replace web radio in iPlayer (more here). And now, there’s Apollo.

ECHO NEST, COLUMBIA UNI LAB OFFER 1-MILLION SONG METADATA DATASET FREE

Music application company The Echo Nest is offering, for free, its database of “audio features and metadata” for 1 million contemporary popular music tracks, reports Ars Technica. The database may be used for experimental or commercial purposes.

The Million Song Dataset is the product of a collaboration between The Echo Nest and Columbia University’s LabROSA department (Laboratory for the Recognition and Organization of Speech and Audio). It was designed to offer “researchers, engineers and commercial developers detailed sonic and cultural attributes for each song, as well as extensive metadata,” explains The Echo Nest in its blog.

Ars Technica explains the project’s importance: “Internet music industry folk and academic researchers say it’s needed to get to the next level in online audio services.” For years, according to Ars, LabROSA has experimented with analyzing music not by human ear (as Pandora has done with its Music Genome), but by a computer, or “machine learning.”

Read more from Ars Technica here. Download the 300GB Dataset here, or 10-thousand song subset here.

ANOTHER CONSORTIUM, THIS ONE FOCUSED ON MOBILE WEB ACCESS IN CARS

The newly-announced Car Connectivity Consortium includes car-makers Daimler, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Toyota, and VW, along with Alpine, LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Nokia and its Terminal Mode platform (RAIN coverage here).

The focus of the consortium is on expanding connectivity between smartphones and car dashboards and developing the features such integration allows. In-car Internet radio and audio is only one of many anticipated developments.

“It is anticipated that further leading industry players will join over the coming weeks,” the consortium’s press release states. Find the release and more coverage in Engadget here.

JELLI, WESTWOOD TEAM UP FOR AD SALES

Westwood One has partnered with crowdsourcing radio service Jelli to exclusively handle on-air ad sales for all of Jelli’s local and national syndicated programming. Advertisers will be able to acquire air time through the Westwood One Network and Metro Traffic divisions. All Access has more coverage here.

STEREOLIZER STREAMS WEB RADIO LIKE IT’S 1985

If your iPad feels just a bit too “modern” or “up-to-date,” you’d best download Stereolizer. The $2 app “turns your iPad into a 1980s stereo, complete with twitching VU-needles, a big volume knob and a tape deck,” Wired reports. You can even stream Internet radio through an “authentic-sounding fake radio interference, just as you would with a real radio.” Find more coverage here.



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