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Pioneer Brings iTunes Tagging To HD, FM Radio

Pioneer is launching a first-of-its-kind version of iTunes tagging that works with analog FM radio as well as HD Radio, it said.

To date, iTunes tagging worked only with songs heard on HD Radio, but Pioneer is showing two car stereos at International CES that let you press a button to bookmark a song heard on FM radio for purchase later on iTunes.

Here’s how it works: Users hear a favorite song, hit a button and then the next time they plug their iPod into the car stereo, the song’s metadata is recorded. When they sync the iPod with a PC, the tagged songs appear in iTunes where they may be purchased.

The feature works over the RDS data stream on analog FM. Nine radio-station groups have announced plans to support the RDS tagging feature, and more than 450 stations have gone live with the service. About 1,200 HD Radio FM stations, in contrast, offer iTunes tagging, iBiquity said.

Pioneer’s iTunes tagging is available on two top-end CD receivers, the DEH-P7100BT and Premier DEH-P710BT. These have dual USB jacks so users can plug in two iPods and “share” your tagged songs with a friend. Street prices for the units, which ship in April, are $340 and $360, respectively.

RDS FM-based song tagging appeared first in Microsoft’s Zune portable media players around September of last year, but Pioneer’s car stereo models are the first to offer the feature over RDS FM for use with iPods.

iTunes tagging over HD Radio is available from many brands this year in car radios and is offered in table top radios and in select Yamaha A/V receivers.