Microsoft ’emulate’ Local US Radio Stations online

Wired News has an interesting piece by Randy Dotinga about a new Internet radio service that Microsoft has launched into beta. So far, so what. The interesting twist is that these radio stations mimic real-world Radio radio-stations by providing the online listener with a near identical music track playlists. One of the examples given was listed as “like” New York City’s Z100. While offering the same music, they also promise “fewer ads, no DJ chatter and less repetition.”

All of the 978 US and Canadian radio stations that they are emulating are only available under the Radio Plus service which will become a pay-for service. It is understood that the yearly $30 paid by listeners to Microsoft will not be divided with the radio stations that are emulated.

While listening to the Radio Plus stations, each track is listed with an options to pay for the download fo the track.

It appears that Microsoft is able to get away with this by using the “Monitored” playlists that have been available since 1990.

We are going to be watching this one with interest.

It is notable that since the story was published on Friday, and we assume has attracted attention, Microsoft appears to have modified the way it lists the radio stations. No longer do they use the words “like” New York City’s Z100, but instead like 100.3 FM, New York, NY. Clearly a frequency is not trade markable.

Original Wired article – Attack of the Radio Clones

MSN local station emulation via Radio Plus