Clear Channel Announces iHeartRadio App and Music Festival

  • Clear Channel announced it is staging what is being billed as the biggest live music festival event in radio history.
  • The iHeartRadio Music Festival is slated for September 23-24 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
  • The event will be streamed live on iHeartRadio.com, the new iHeartRadio app, and Clear Channel websites.
  • Hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the current lineup includes Sting, Coldplay, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Bruno Mars, Jennifer Lopez, Nicki Minaj, Jane’s Addiction and more. Additional acts will be added in the coming months.
  • The new app, which will be ready for download in time for the festival, will offer access to 750 Clear Channel stations and customization utilizing technology from the recent acquisition of Thumbplay Music.
  • The iHeartRadio app plans to take on Pandora, “promising access to more songs, content, and more control, plus the ability to create playlists, and no commercials through the end of the year.”

Researchers Create Device that Harvests Energy from Ambient Signals

  • Georgia Tech researchers have developed an energy-harvesting device that can collect power from various sources including radio and television transmitters, cell phone networks and satellite communications systems.
  • “We are using an ultra-wideband antenna that lets us exploit a variety of signals in different frequency ranges, giving us greatly increased power-gathering capability,” explains Manos Tentzeris of Georgia Tech’s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering.
  • The device has the ability to capture energy from a range of banks, convert the energy from AC to DC power, and then subsequently store it in capacitors and batteries.
  • The team hopes that the device could provide a new means of powering networks of wireless sensors, microprocessors and communications chips.

UK Consortium Plans to Conduct White Space Radio Trial

  • A consortium in the United Kingdom that includes Microsoft, BT and the BBC will test a white space radio service in Cambridge to determine effectiveness and any possible interference with TV transmission.
  • White space radio has been proposed to complete the UK’s broadband coverage.
  • Data rates range from 10kbps to 16Mbps depending on distance from the base station.
  • UK could be covered with 6,000 base stations on existing cell towers and provide low bandwidth services.

DAR.fm is a Free (for now) Digital Audio Recorder for Radio

There’s been a lot of music news reported in recent weeks, from a collaboration between Spotify and Facebook to compelling new discovery apps including Radio Spotter from mSpot Music to emerging cloud-based services from the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple. We’ve also been watching the direction of services such as Pandora, Slacker, Rhapsody and Napster as digital music distribution continues to evolve. However, a new online service created by MP3.com founder Michael Robertson may change the way we consume radio.

Robertson’s DAR.fm (currently in beta) is a digital audio recorder for radio content, what David Pogue describes in his New York Times column as “free TiVo for radio.” According to the site’s FAQ page: “DAR.fm is a personal recorder which records radio stations and shows to be played back at the convenience of the listener. Similar to how a DVR (digital video recorder) works with television DAR is a DVR for your radio.”

Currently, there is no charge for the basic service, but that may change in the future based on potential restrictions or data storage space (advertising on the site is also reportedly in the works). Pogue explains that each user starts with 2GB, and completing an application at MP3Tunes.com provides a free upgrade to 10GB. According to the site: “DAR.fm gives you 2 GBs of storage to record your content. This is enough to store approximately 100 hours of material. However, it depends on whether the material you’re recording is talk or music — you may be able to store more or less. If you need more space you can purchase a Premium account with 20, 50, 100, or 200 GB of additional storage.”

What makes this service compelling, however, is that users can listen to an unlimited range of radio content anywhere, anytime: via computer, phone apps, Wi-Fi-connected radios, even the Roku set-top TV box. Listening to recordings from a phone is made possible by free apps based on the open music API (Airband for the iPhone, MP3tunes for Android, Locker Player for Windows Phone 7, and Music in Your Palm for WebOS). Users can even download individual songs that have been captured.

“It’s crazy cool, like a hybrid of iTunes and satellite radio,” writes Pogue.

If DAR.fm catches on, will it compete with cloud-based and subscription music services? If it works as flawlessly as Pogue describes, it may have a strong chance, although MP3Tunes has yet to share the limelight with other more notable cloud services. Pogue writes: “The person who created DAR.fm also runs a company called MP3Tunes.com. It’s an online storage locker for your music files, so that you can play them from any computer or phone, anywhere you go. (If this sounds familiar, it’s because Amazon introduced a nearly identical service last month, called Amazon Cloud Player. Google just opened a ‘cloud music locker’ service, too. Needless to say, the headlines about this ‘new’ kind of music service drives the MP3Tunes guy crazy; his site has been in operation for four years.)”

Related Grace Digital Audio press release: “Grace Digital DAR.fm Audio Recorder for Internet Radio Debuts” (5/19/11)

Related Radio World article: “DAR.fm Hopes to Shift the Paradigm” (4/15/11)

Related Radio World article (with video): “DAR.fm, Grace Radio Aim at a ‘Talk TiVo'” (5/18/11)

Related PC Mag article: “MSpot Adds ‘Radio’ Music Discovery to Online Music Locker: Hands On” (5/26/11)

Related TechCrunch article (from Disrupt conference): “Rexly’s Social Music Discovery App Is What Ping Should Have Been” (5/23/11)

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