LaunchCast

Various authors, Yahoo!, Jan 30, 2003
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I spent several hours last night exploring Yahoo!'s LaunchCast service, which yesterday announced a premium subscription service. LaunchCast is the Yahoo! version of web radio, but it is a lot more sophisticated than any previous version I have seen. In particular, it allows you to select genres and artists to tailor your radio feed. It also allows you to evaluate the songs you hear to more precisely define your tastes. If you are interested in my tastes in music, you can view my personal station, Radio Downes. At $4 per month or $35 per year it could be competitively priced. But you can't just pick a song and listen to it; music distributors will not allow that. Moreoever, though the selection is extensive, it is limited to certain artists or certain labels: you won't be hearing your favorite indy band here. So, on the one hand, it's a great interface, on the other hand, it smacks of continuing monopoly. All of which is more evidence, to me at least, that the music industry is less interested in fostering creativity than in owning it.
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