eMusic has quietly launched a new Internet radio feature to aid music discovery called eMusic Radio. Currently in beta, eMusic Radio gives U.S. subscribers free, non-interactive streaming of songs hand-picked by the music store's editorial staff.
Each radio station is titled, given its own web page and links to related reading in eMusic's vast library of editorial content. The stations cover a wide range of genres and styles, from post-punk to alternative country to guilty pleasures (the site has plenty of major label pop stars in its catalog), and will be continuously updated by the eMusic editorial staff. For examples, check out "Gimme Indie Rock!": by Marc Hogan, "All Things Electronic" by Michaelangelos Matos and " Fresh Jazz" by Britt Robson.
eMusic Radio takes advantage of a new Flash-based, inline music player that runs across the bottom of the eMusic web page. The music player allows eMusic Radio listeners to continue listening to stations - or song samples - while they navigate to other eMusic web pages. Radio stations will not stream if the browser or mobile device does not have Flash.
Like a typical Internet radio service, there are a few restrictions. eMusic subscribers can listen up to ten hours per 30-day billing cycle and can check their balance of streaming hours at their account page, according to information at the eMusic help page. Listeners may skip only six songs per hour due to licensing agreements. And the radio stations are open only to U.S. subscribers, although the company says it is "committed to offering eMusic Radio to other regions as soon as possible."
The beta launch is an early version and changes are in store. An eMusic spokesperson tells Billboard improvements - such as a buy button - will be added in the future. And CEO Adam Klein has told Billboard in the past that non-subscribers will eventually get access to eMusic Radio for a two-week introductory period.