As iTunes, and the iPod, continue to dominate the music market, and satellite radio is growing, terrestrial radio is looking for ways to remain relevant and maintain their audience – and revenue. A major push as been to ‘HD Radio’, which is the inaccurate (and, to me, annoying) name for digital radio. (There really isn’t anything ‘HD’ about it, that’s just marketing playing off the brand awareness of HDTV. HD means ‘better’ to consumers.) And the next step for HD Radio is trying to become part of the iTunes ecosystem by embedding tags in the broadcasts that will allow users with HD Radios to make note of songs they like, save the tag, and then later buy the song via iTunes. And Clear Channel is the first major radio chain to deploy this:
Clear Channel plans to announce today (April 7) that it will become the first radio chain to feature iTunes tagging across 345 stations broadcasting in HD.
The feature allows listeners to press a button on their HD radio to tag a song, store the information in an Apple iPod, then purchase and download songs via Apple iTunes when the iPod is synched with a computer.
Polk Audioâ€™s I-Sonic Entertainment System 2 is the first HD radio receiver which includes this capability, but more receivers with the feature will be coming to market. There isn’t really a direct benefit for the radio stations but it is a ‘value add’ for the listener which the stations hope will add more value to HD radio and encourage more receiver sales, and most listeners.