Tech blogger finds Net radio "inhumanity" makes him miss "Rodney on the 'ROQ"

Monday, July 1, 2013 - 1:40pm

"We've lost the genius of the great DJ, the human who exposes us to new music, who takes us on a trip every Sunday night," writes commentator Joshua Fruhlinger, feeling nostalgic for bygone on-air musical tour guides like KROQ's legendary Rodney Bingenheimer.

But it's not just the dearth of great DJs in broadcast radio. Fruhlinger says Internet radio that creates listening experiences algorithmically are "inhuman." Not in the literal sense (though that's true too), but in the sense they lack the capriciousness and serendipity that a human-guided listening experience entails.

He writes: "Imagine if we replaced, say, chefs with machines. 'We noticed you like cheeseburgers. Here, have a bacon cheeseburger.' That's a fair assumption, but when I eat a cheeseburger, I want fries. Sometimes I want a salad instead. People are weird like that, and no machine can take me from The Vaccines to Neil Diamond."

Fruhlinger is an Engadget editor whose blog "This Is the Modern World" explores "the culture of consumer technology." Read the piece here.

Slacker reportedly partners with Vodaphone to enter UK market

Wednesday, May 8, 2013 - 1:00pm

According to MusicWeek, popular (and growing, see today's top story) pureplay webcaster Slacker will reportedly launch in the UK within the next three months.

Such a move would make Slacker the largest U.S.-based Net radio outlet available there (Pandora is not licensed in the United Kingdom).

Slacker will come to Britain by way of a partnership with Vodafone, the world's second-largest mobile telecom company.

You may remember that Slacker "relaunched" earlier this year, with a new look, new features, and an ad campaign positioning itself as an alternative to market leader Pandora. It also recently added voice personalities to some of its channels. The article sources Slacker president and CEO Jim Cady recently revealing that "Session listener times on Slacker without a host have been averaging around 29 mins, but with a host personality or presenter session listening is growing to around 79 minutes."

Read the full article here.

DJ-centric Net radio platform hires vets from YouTube, UMG

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 11:00am

Former YouTube lead front-end developer Michael Wenzel, former GetGlue lead developer Nic Luciano, and former Universal Music Group supervisor of advertising, marketing and media services Chris Nagy have joined forces at is a Net radio service focused on DJ-mixed and "mix tape" music, which has now streamed over 1 million mixes from over 8,000 DJs.

Wenzel, the YouTube vet, is now's chief development officer. Luciano, from GetGlue, is now chief technology officer, Nagy will serve as SVP of marketing and sales.

Rights management is a particularly sticky problem for services featuring original DJ mixes. Unlike single discrete recordings which usually have a single copyright owner, DJ mixes can consist of snippets of dozens of separate copyright recordings. For this, has developed a "proprietary fingerprinting and rights flow-management technology, MixSCAN, (which) enables automated rights and royalty distribution to copyright holders."

Read more in the press release here.

DJ-focused web radio site Dubset relaunches as

Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 12:15pm is the new iteration of DJ-focused web radio service Dubset (which RAIN spotlighed in February 2011, here).

New features include "a completely overhauled platform, enhanced functionality, social sharing tools, an embeddable player, proprietary search and recommendation algorithm, and more music from the world's most prominent and talented DJs," the company says.

The service also includes an interesting bit of technology, called MixSCAN, which says can identify individual songs within a DJ's mix for royalty purposes.

You can find the new site here and's press release here.

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