Yesterday's announcement of the Polk I-Sonic ES2 with iTunes Tagging support was promptly followed by a press release over the wires by iBiquity singing the praises of HD Radio.
And indeed, it's something that HD Radio can celebrate over for the time being. There's several marketing related benefits to the partnership - mostly bragging rights - which they will be doing in a 13-week multimillion dollar HD Radio ad campaign this October. The association with Apple also holds value, as it positions HD side-by-side with a "premium" brand. But the benefits really go to Apple, who gains another outlet for which people can tag and eventually purchase iTunes.
The implications of the iTunes Tagging technology itself is something deeper though. We don't know exactly how it works, but with the tagging functionality now available at select Starbucks over WiFi, and now over HD Radio, that means that Apple has built a tagging platform.
And I can guarantee that it's not going to stop at HD Radio.
With iTunes Tagging, Apple has built a platform that will read embedded metadata transmitted over various formats of digital encoded audio. So this very likely could spread to XM and Sirius. And as suggested by Wired, spread to Internet Radio outlets who embed the Apple metadata.
More than anything, it's a way for iTunes to be embedded in other devices that receive audio, and feed back into the Apple eco-system. Apple grows its tentacles, while manufacturers get the benefit being associated with the ubiquitous iPod.
(See iBiquity's press release after the jump...)
iTunes Tagging for HD Radio Broadcasting Announced
New, free HD Radio(TM) application enhances consumer music discovery and broadens local radio broadcaster ability to capitalize on digital commerce space
COLUMBIA, Md., Sept. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Responding to the desire of millions of people who discover music via their favorite local radio broadcasts, Apple, iBiquity Digital, and major radio broadcasting groups unveiled today the result of an industry-wide initiative to create a new, free service called "iTunes Tagging."
iTunes Tagging is designed to make music discovery, purchase and listening even more fun and simple for all. iTunes Tagging enables consumers using HD Radio receivers that have been equipped with a special Tag button, to "tag" songs that they hear on the FM dial for subsequent purchase via iTunes.
"iTunes tagging takes music discovery on the radio to the next level," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of iPod Product Marketing. "When a song plays on your HD Radio that you like, a simple push of a button will tag it and later give you the chance to preview, purchase, and enjoy it with iTunes and your iPod."
Bob Struble, CEO of iBiquity Digital, the developer of HD Radio technology, said, "Research consistently shows that radio is the predominant source of music discovery. Now, with iTunes Tagging, HD Radio technology provides a cool new way to capture the songs listeners discover, buy them on iTunes and then enjoy them. We are especially pleased that so many broadcasters came together so quickly for the initial launch." Several major broadcasters will implement iTunes Tagging, initially across hundreds of stations. Additional stations and broadcast groups are expected to join soon, with a formal announcement of participating groups planned for later this year at the NAB Radio convention, September 26 - 28.
Struble continued, "We are delighted that JBL and Polk will have the first available products that enable iTunes Tagging. The new Polk I-Sonic(R) Entertainment System 2 and the JBL iHD will both include the Tag button. These products will go on sale during the holiday shopping season and we anticipate several additional products that include the Tag button for both the home and the car to follow in early 2008."
Peter Ferrara, CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance, the coalition of radio broadcasters formed to promote HD Radio technology commented on the broadcasters' promotional plan for iTunes Tagging, saying, "The HD Digital Radio Alliance is tremendously excited about this great new HD Radio feature and will broadly promote iTunes Tagging. We plan a multi-million dollar advertising campaign focusing on the JBL and Polk products, as well as participating retailers."
Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. commented, "Clear Channel Radio remains committed to being the leader in HD Digital Radio content on both primary and multicast channels, and our embrace of iTunes Tagging is just the latest step in that leadership. We believe that HD Digital Radio innovations such as this will continue to open up additional and new services for consumers and revenue opportunities for broadcasters."