curated

7digital to license access to DMCA-compliant streaming, 25M licensed tracks to U.S. webcasters

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 12:05pm

London-based 7digital is releasing its "DMCA-compliant" music streaming platform to would-be U.S. webcasters. Turntable.fm's Piki service (more in RAIN here) is already using the 7digital service to stream.

7digital provides its digital music store and other related services to consumer electronics companies like Samsung and music services like Turntable.fm.

The company's streaming radio API is meant to make it easy to launch an Internet radio service that adheres to the restrictions of the U.S. law known as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998. (The law limits the ways in which "non-interactive" services can present and make music available to consumers.) The streaming API also affords access to 7digital's full catalog of more than 25 million tracks of licensed music.

7digital thinks there's real appeal to consumers and a growing market for curated, "non-interactive, DMCA-compliant" services -- that is, Internet radio.

The company's president for North America Vickie Nauman told TechCrunch, "It's such a great lean-back experience and we’ve been watching the marketplace and we feel that the partners that we have that are doing really well, combined with the need people have for a really easy way to listen to their music have led us to decide that this year we're really going to focus on radio."

7digital CEO and founder Ben Drury spoke at the recent RAIN Summit Europe conference in Brussels. Hear audio of the entire conference with SoundCloud. The links are in the right-hand margin of kurthanson.com.

Read more in TechCrunch here.

Algorithmic intelligence still needs the "human touch," says NYT

Monday, March 11, 2013 - 12:10pm

As powerful and important as computer algorithms have become for any number of problems, The New York Times reports today that human judgement is still integral for nearly any service using them. Since "computers themselves are literal-minded, and context and nuance often elude them," it's still very necessary to have "people evaluate, edit or correct an algorithm’s work... assemble online databases of knowledge and check and verify them... (and) interpret and tweak information in ways that are understandable to both computers and other humans."

Even at Google, "where algorithms and engineers reign supreme," humans are contributing more to search results, writes The Times (Just one example: Type a celebrity's name in the Google search bar, and you'll probably see a summary about that person on the right-hand side of the results page... those are drawn from human-edited databases.).

Read more in The New York Times here.

Firms like The Echo Nest use algorithms to assemble databases of "music intelligence." Leading webcaster Pandora uses its own combination of music analyzed by humans but assembled in playlists by algorithm (though likely with significant influence of the "thumbs up/thumbs down" listener ratings it collects). As a marketing strategy, several other webcasters recently have positioned themselves as "curated by music experts, not algorithms" (more in RAIN here).

Fuzz lets users be a DJ, and enjoy music "curated by humans"

Friday, September 28, 2012 - 1:15pm

Entrepreneur Jeff Yasuda (he created the "Twitter for music" Blip.fm) has beta-launched Fuzz, the newest online radio service that enables users to create channels using their own music (see Live365, Turntable.fm, Radionomy).

Fuzz's marketing angle is that the stations are "user-curated, robot-free online listening experiences" created solely by human music fans, and not by cold, heartless computer algorithms. The positioning statement (which appears just below its logo on the front page) reads "Fuzz is great radio made by real people."

Setting his business apart from similar services, Yasuda says Fuzz won't be ad-supported. CNet wrote "Yasuda knows that's a losing path, that the numbers don't work." Rather, he plans to fund the business with premium subscription services, and then move into mobile and the app business. "Those are the breakout opportunities," he told CNet. They write, "He wants to take what he learns on Fuzz, create apps -- maybe games, maybe something different -- that he markets to his users."

Try Fuzz here; read CNet's article here.

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