Pandora may have built its personalized radio service on its proprietary Music Genome Project, but falling barriers to entry mean the company is going to have plenty of competitors. (Whether or not those competitors can create an equally satisfying experience is another matter, however.)
Case in point: The Nokia Lumia 800 phone--which runs on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform--will come pre-installed with a Nokia Music app that includes MixRadio, a personalized streaming service powered by music intelligence company The Echo Nest. The free app includes also includes an MP3 store, live concert recommendations and other features.
Nokia Music has more than personalized stations. In addition to MixRadio, the app includes roughly 100 stations programmed by music experts. Users can stream any station on-demand, or download about 15 hours of programming onto their phones for offline playback. Nokia has a 15 million-song collection to work with.
However, personalization requires an additional step that MixRadio's competitors don't have: MixRadio works by scanning the user's hard drive to look at the music collection and generate custom streaming programs. The scan requires a browser app to be installed on the user's desktop or laptop. Even though that app constantly scans and updates a user's taste profile - which constantly improves the listening experience over time - it's still an extra step.
If Pandora has invested in its proprietary system for streaming music according to a person's tastes, how can other companies follow suit without an equal investment? Simply put, companies like The Echo Nest are providing the brains behind these apps. "Nokia's MixRadio unites our music intelligence platform with a beautiful device, delivering the most personalized global music service the world has ever seen," boasts Jim Lucchese, CEO of The Echo Nest, in a statement.
Hear The Echo Nest's Jim Lucchese talk about app development at Billboard's FutureSound conference in San Francisco. The conference runs this Thursday and Friday and will feature investor Ron Conway, Daniel Glass of Glassnote Records and a host of others from the worlds of investment, content and technology.