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Motorola Touts iRadio at CES

Motorola Touts iRadio at CES

“Radio wasn’t working. So we changed it.” That’s part of the marketing language being used by Motorola for its new iRadio music service.
Reports about the service have been circulating for some weeks. Motorola has formally announced the service, and it quoted Clear Channel’s Jeff Littlejohn speaking in support of the rollout, although a Motorola official said there is no business arrangement between the two companies.
This is a subscription service that caches content on mobile handsets. It launches with 435 commercial-free channels, which the company calls “one of the widest selections of subscription music entertainment available,” although apparently that number of channels will not be available via the phone at a given time.
The service reportedly will cost $7 to $10 a month.
The approach uses the mobile phone as a hub to distribute content. Consumers can subscribe by choosing an icon on an iRadio-enabled mobile phone, which will be sold through wireless service providers. Motorola is demonstrating the service at CES this week on devices including the new ROKR E2.
The service requires that a subscriber download software via a broadband connection to their PC. The user can create playlists from their own digital music files as well, and program up to six channels to take along on the iRadio-enabled phone, according to Motorola’s site. Memory can be expanded via Flash card.
Bluetooth wireless accessories allow content to move between phone, car home stereo system, although the service seems particularly aimed at mobile listening. When a call is received, music is paused, resuming after the call.
Motorola touts the service as good for music artists and air talent. The iRadio platform “also allows independent artists, radio personalities and talk show hosts to create their own iRadio channels,” it said in the announcement. “The Motorola iRadio Get Heard Network provides a digitally protected distribution channel for music and spoken word artists to expand their audiences and to be discovered by new listeners.”
Listeners can bookmark a song by pressing a button on the phone or car stereo. Artist, album and song information can be viewed via computer as well as offers to purchase downloads, CDs or concert tickets on a “Wish List.”
The system also lets wireless carriers offer a branded music service. Motorola believes carriers can introduce subscribers to music via the handset and encourage consumers to buy the tune. “For example, listeners can hear a song on their car stereo and simply press a key to purchase and download the track over-the-air.”