America Online has turned its sights on the ever-growing format of Internet radio as the massive entertainment giant announces the launch of Radio@AOL. This new venture "transforms the conventional radio experience by weaving together a wide range of top-quality programming from AOL and leading media and entertainment partners with rich online content and retail offerings," according to an AOL spokesperson. New AOL 7.0 will have a one touch button built into the toolbar for easy access to Radio@AOL and also features a convenient "BUY" button that gives consumers the ability to easily purchase music theyíre listening to. This, suffice it to say, could be huge! The best part (or worst part depending on who you talk to) is that the clueless teenyboppers who spend every waking moment on AOL will have no idea that a multi-national media superpower is tracking every second of their listening and purchasing habits and relaying the info to their partner in crime, Warner Music, for the most accurate marketing research numbers imaginable. Of course this is complete speculation, but normally 2+2 equals 4.
More features from Radio@AOL and some quotes from the Head of AOL Music:
** More than 75 stations of quality music programming covering a wide range of music genres and eras ñ including Pop, Rock, Alternative, Country, R&B, Hip Hop, Latin, Electronica, Soundtracks, Jazz, 80ís, Classical, and many more.
** News, sports, talk and music programming from CMJ and SportingNews.com, as well as live streams from local broadcast stations such as KPIG-FM (Freedom, CA), WFMU-FM (Jersey City, NJ), and WOXY-FM (Cincinnati, OH) and KCRW-FM (Los Angeles, CA, also offering both all-news and all-music streams).
** "Celebrity Spins" stations from 28 favorite artists ñ like Craig David, Diana Krall, Faith Hill, Lenny Kravitz, Madonna, Missy Elliot, P. Diddy, Radiohead, Sugar Ray and premiering this month, AOLís Artist of the Month, Jewel ñ feature their picks and musical influences.
** AOL exclusives, including unique stations like Just4Kids, Global Beats, Top Classical in addition to seasonal and holiday features.
Kevin Conroy, Senior Vice President and Head of AOL Music, said: "Radio@AOL is AOL's first integrated radio offering and will set the standard for online radio by making it easy for mainstream consumers to enjoy their favorite music. With its prominent position on the AOL 7.0 toolbar, easy-to-use features and best-of-breed programming, AOL members will have the ability to conveniently listen to great music, news and other compelling programming right alongside other popular AOL features such as e-mail, chat and instant messaging."
Consumers are increasingly embracing online music activities. According to Arbitron Webcast Services the number of people who listen to online radio has grown from 6% to 20% in just two years. Forrester Research estimates that 41 percent of U.S. consumers ñ 118 million Americans ñ will use Internet radio at least once a week by 2005. And listening to music online and visiting music sites are among consumers top online activities, according to the most recent Jupiter/NPD Consumer Survey.
Mr. Conroy continued: "As a cornerstone of AOLís music offerings, Radio@AOL will help AOL's 31 million members take advantage of a range of integrated online music services. Radio@AOL will make online music an even more integral part of our members' lives and lay a foundation for a multitude of music experiences to come. As a part of the Internet's leading music destination, Radio@AOL will also become central to the unique marketing relationships we're forging with record labels, recording artists and brand marketers."