Super Radio: CBS and Last.fm Join Forces!

by
lastfm and cbs

Up, up, and away! It’s innovation time!

In a move that supports my oft-stated stance that traditional radio is undergoing an evolutionary process, CBS Radio has announced a revolutionary collaborative effort with Last.fm. The largest global free music platform on the web and one of the largest players in the U.S. broadcast market have come together to prove that their media are complementary, not exclusionary.

The press release on The Earth Times provides details:

The announcement was made jointly today by Dan Mason, President and CEO, CBS RADIO, and Felix Miller, CEO and Co-Founder, Last.fm.

Under this agreement, CBS RADIO will provide streaming of all its stations to Last.fm’s U.S. audience, including top market properties like New York’s WCBS-FM, Los Angeles’ KROQ, Chicago’s WXRT and Atlanta’s WVEE. Through CBS RADIO’s new online player to be launched this Spring, users of Last.fm will be able to stream any of the over-the-air stations at any time. This follows CBS RADIO’s recent agreement with AOL, which allows AOL listeners access to CBS over-the-air and Internet stations through CBS RADIO’s new player, and is similar to Last.fm’s recent partnership with the BBC’s digital radio stations.

This is huge news. This alliance will vastly extend the reach of both companies involved, as well as integrating some of the best points of both broadcast and social media based internet audio. Coming in the wake of the partnerships referenced above one can only expect a quantum leap for radio in all its incarnations.

At the same time, audiences will also be able to seamlessly shift from streaming their favorite CBS RADIO station, to Last.fm where they can play individual songs for free, essentially giving listeners the ability to listen to every song played on the CBS RADIO Internet network again.

As a blogger, I am an obvious fan of Web 2.0 and social networking. Bringing that power to bear on traditional radio is a move that should help dispel inaccurate rumors of of the medium’s demise. (For more on the growing intersection between social media and radio see my notes at the end of this post).

“This is an inventive way for CBS RADIO to expand its streaming campaign by adding another tremendous distribution platform,” said Mason. “Streaming our stations on Last.fm exposes our incredible portfolio of brands, talent and content to a large, growing audience, while at the same time providing additional value to all our advertisers. We are very pleased to work with Felix and our friends at Last.fm on this new partnership.”

“This is the first of what we hope to be many collaborations between CBS RADIO and Last.fm,” said Miller. “The content and distribution power between these brands is incredible, and we are tapping into that strength to greatly expand our digital footprints while significantly improving the user experience on all our platforms. It’s a win-win situation for everyone, most importantly the user who now has more ways to listen to their favorite music and stations.”

This truly presents an array of options unprecedented in the field of audio content delivery. The dual engines of Last.fm and CBS are revving up to take the listening public on a joyride. As the rollout brings more CBS stations to the streaming audience, advertisers will be seeing their reach extend in a significant way. As Miller put it, its a win-win situation.

For some more interesting info about the intersection of broadcast and social media, check out the annual report by Arbitron and Edison Media Research, “Infinite Dial 2008: Radio’s Digital Platforms.” My favorite quote is this one:

“Social networking is clearly not about creating exclusive, self-enclosed communities,” Diane Williams, senior analyst, custom research for Arbitron, said in a statement. “We found that online radio listeners are more than one and half times more likely to have a profile on a social networking site as compared to average Americans and that they tend to be power-users with one-third of online radio listeners logging on to their social networking site nearly every day or even multiple times per day.”

Photo courtesy of liewcf, used according to its Creative Commons license

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