340 HD-Radio Stations Launch iTunes Tagging - 4/7/2008 7:31:00 AM - TWICE:

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.

Let's not play dumb. Like Firefox and Google, Clear Channel is doing this because they'll get a kickback for each track sold this way, or they're at least paying Apple up front to play, right? If Apple's paying them, I've misjudged Apple's clout, though it's still a win for the Jobsaphiles.

But this brings me to my second concern, the digitization of the public airwaves. I know analog radio's full of adverts already, but there's something extra creepy about the content carrying commercial metadata like digital mules. It seems like the public benefit, the content the advertisements are supposed to support, from broadcasts are getting harder to find.

And that's the point of digital, right? If nothing else, we can package any sort of non-physical content with digital without having to redesign the method of delivery. iTunes tagging is one way commercial interests can shove their way into what used to be independent content. HD radio is another -- how long before we have HD 2.0? 3.0? etc?

I was recently looking at the Honda Nighthawk, and the motorcycle's been pretty much the same for twenty years. Up until Feb of next year, we could use most any TV made in the last half-century to get our CSI or American Idol fix. How long before TVs are "upgraded" as quickly as video game consoles and our VHS, ur DVD, um... Blu-Ray players?

Poorly written blog, I know, but this iTunes tagging is representative of the future in a way I don't quite yet fully comprehend, but it's setting off the proverbial warning bells.

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