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In the Old-Media-playing-catch-up department: CBS Radio plans to launch a custom internet radio site, similar to Pandora.com and Last.fm, where users can stream music that sounds like a given musician. The company is currently talking to advertisers about the site, called Play.it, and says it will open it to the public in the next few months. Screen grabs from an early version of the site are after the jump.
Aspects of Play.it sound cool. Users will drag and drop favorite artists into a grid, weighting them by preference, to create the style of music they want to hear. And they??l be able to add news reports, traffic updates, and celebrity interviews from local CBS affiliates. The site will then assemble and stream a radio station like one on the FM dial. Big surprise, that will include commercial breaks. But CBS Radio?? David Goodman says the frequency of breaks will be ?? lot lower,?than on terrestrial radio, and that the ads will be “in context” — love songs will generate jewelry or flower advertisements, for instance.
I’m eager to check it out, but I’m also skeptical CBS can keep up with the competition. Right now, Pandora and Last.fm have deep libraries of musicians and sophisticated recommendation technology (Play.it will use its own system, called “The Brain”). New services, meanwhile, keep popping up. Just last week we heard about another one, Chilirec, which records songs as they stream online, like a TiVo (via TechCrunch, or Go2Web20). Who knows where we’ll be when Play.it opens months from now.