Myxer has unveiled its new Myxer Social Radio, a free Internet radio service with an emphasis on social features. The free, ad-supported service is available on iPhone and Android devices as well as the web on desktop PCs. It's being shown Wednesday at the Digiday Mobile conference in New York and will be available to consumers in the fourth quarter.
All of a sudden the Internet radio marketplace just got a lot more competitive. This latest social-leaning Internet radio services comes a week after Clear Channel debuted its personalized iHeartRadio service and on the very day Pandora rolled out its more social, redesigned web-based product.
There's a reason why the word "social" is built right into the product's name. "It's absolutely social," says Myk Willis, founder and CEO. "It is listening with friends. That is the whole focus."
Willis doesn't believe the private, personal listening of the CD and download era resonates with many of today's consumers. Instead he sees a demand for products that give consumers a feeling of what he calls "persistent social connectedness." "If we've done our job right, whenever you're using Myxer Social Radio you never feel alone."
One unique aspect to the service is Song Stories. Myxer Social Radio allows users to use their smartphone or webcam to upload brief video recordings in which they describe what that particular song means to them. In effect, Song Stories allows people to "tag" songs with personal stories that help give more context to the music.
This news is not tied to this week's Facebook f8 conference, but there is a Facebook angle. Like other services, Myxer Social Radio integrates with Facebook to help construct its social features. In fact, Myxer Social Radio uses only Facebook Connect for account creation and log-ins. That enables the service to learn about each customer and encourages users to join their friends, says Willis.
Other than social, there's another trend at play here. Myxer Social Radio represents a shift from transactions (downloads) to streaming (Internet radio). The six-year-old company started selling ringtones because that was the only practical content people could consumer on their mobile devices. Later it branched out to selling MP3s, mobile apps and other downloadable content.
But now Myxer is following customer demand into streaming. "We know that people are interested in getting out of the business of managing their MP3s, managing a music library of their own," says Willis. "They're much more likely to go up to the cloud and go to a streaming service. Now they have the bandwidth and the devices that can do it."
Don't miss Billboard's FutureSound Conference, takes place November 17-18 at Terra in San Francisco. FutureSound will feature keynotes from the top minds in investment, technology and music today as well as panels and workshops from digital startups to technology veterans to angel investors discussing the multitude of opportunities and challenges facing this wildly dynamic market.