Play me, play you

By Gavin, 2nd April 2008

Billboard says

“CBS Radio and Last.fm, both owned by CBS Corp, have teamed up for closer collaboration on their respective radio initiatives. Under the agreement, CBS Radio will stream all its stations to Last.fm’s U.S. users. This includes KROQ in Los Angeles, WCBS in New York, WXRT in Chicago and WVEE in Atlanta.

The UK Last.fm service already does the same for BBC stations in London.

Listeners on Last.fm can then flip from the radio stream to playing individual songs, and add songs heard via the radio stream to their Last.fm playlist to play later on-demand.”

What does this mean?

If you look at the BBC presence I see no evidence of any “radio streaming”. BBC Radio 1, Radio 2, Radio 3 and Radio 4 all have pages, but there’s no live radio simulcast. They all say,

“BBC Radio X isn’t yet available to play on Last.fm.”

Does “stream stations to users” mean putting a hyperlink on a web page? Embedding a streaming URL in a web page? Exchanging metadata about what’s playing so you can play the same thing? Last.fm providing a relayed streaming feed whereby Last.fm pay for the delivery infrastructure?

I suspect it’s the exchange of metadata, in which case we have a complete mess of jargon being used in the media and really odd expectations being set.

… and if radio stations have an API on their playlists, then this kind of mashup requires no commercial intervention, let alone a press release. It certainly isn’t “radio”.