CBS Radio Plans its Own Pandora (And It's Not Last.Fm)

Posted by: Burt Helm on May 02, 2008

blog playitlogo.png 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’ll 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’s David Goodman says the frequency of breaks will be “a 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.

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Reader Comments

Alyssa

May 5, 2008 03:06 PM

I like that, according to their main page, it's both easy AND simple. Wow.

Alex

May 5, 2008 05:10 PM

If CBS already own Last.fm, why are they doing this?

Truth

May 6, 2008 02:13 PM

David Goodman is an idiot! This is not simple and easy. It looks to be more pain than it is worth and the fact that only .05% of listeners actually take the time to call a radio station, imagine how many will want to take the time to create one.

A nifty toy for Mr Goodman but it has been done and to not much critical mass... This is one big yawn!

Dave Manchester

November 25, 2008 11:55 AM

I designed a few stations so Visitors to my blog have a choice of music while they're there.

Scribal Thrum Radio
http://dredeyedick.wordpress.com

I like play.it. CBS is doing a lot right with this model by taking care of the licensing on the back end and letting the social networking trends do their own thing to bring it forward.

I think the song rotation would improve if play.it's algorthm used more of a music genome project approach, fwiw.

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About

News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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