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340 HD-Radio Stations Launch iTunes Tagging

HD-Radio iTunes Tagging officially launched as Clear Channel Radio began broadcasting over 340 stations that allow listeners to bookmark their favorite songs for purchase or review at a later time.

Special radios are required for the feature, and the first of these — the $499 Polk I-Sonic Entertainment System 2 — shipped in March to retailers and is now offered in 200 Apple stores. JBL and others are expected to offer similar home radios, and Alpine and Dual will soon offer iTunes Tagging car radios.

iTunes Tagging lets consumers “tag” songs broadcast by a digital FM station by pressing a button on a radio. The HD Radio stores song metadata that transfers automatically to an iPod when it docks to the radio. Later, when the iPod is synced with a PC, all the user’s tagged songs will appear in a playlist for previewing and buying.

Jeff Littlejohn, distribution and development executive VP for Clear Channel Radio, explained, “You hear something on the air, you press the tag button, and the next time you sync to iTunes you can purchase it or find out more about it.” He continued, “It marries two things that have just been dying to get together. About 65 percent of new music is discovered on broadcast radio, not satellite radio and not Internet radio. And more and more, the way people buy music is through these electronic stores. This just puts those two things together.”

All of Clear Channel’s 340 FM HD-Radio stations will now allow iTunes tagging. Other stations from CBS Radio, Cumulus, Cox, Entercom and Greater Media are also expected to offer the feature.

Dual said its iTunes Tagging car radios will ship in July and Alpine will ship three models, some of which will be available this month.