The perception that internet radio is a technology in search of a use is one we have held for a long time, and the similarly negative take on the concept has driven TheDJ.com, one of the leading providers of music over the internet to relaunch itself today as Spinner.com. Launched two years ago, TheDJ.com provides […]
The perception that internet radio is a technology in search of a use is one we have held for a long time, and the similarly negative take on the concept has driven TheDJ.com, one of the leading providers of music over the internet to relaunch itself today as Spinner.com. Launched two years ago, TheDJ.com provides numerous channels of music divided into various musical categories and sub-categories free of charge to users using RealAudio technology. The company makes its money from advertising sales and co-branding agreements. The company will announce a year-long deal with Amazon.com Inc, replacing CDNow Inc as its principal web-based retail partner. The two will share revenues from music, books and videos and Amazon has also committed to a specific dollar amount of advertising on Spinner.com. Spinner.com’s VP marketing, Scott Epstein says there were two principal motives behind the name change. The first was that users often forgot to type ‘The’ in front of DJ and so were taken to Dow Jones and the second involved TheDJ.com having too many radio connotations, which, according to the usual round of focus groups, is a bad thing because of the interruption of DJs and the lack of choice in music. Over the past two years TheDJ.com built up more than two million users and is getting 20 million page views a month. As part of the relaunch the company has now got a digital library of more than 100,000 songs spread across 102 channels that stem from ten music genres, such as rock and classical, a Frank Sinatra channel, and a Get a Handel on your Bach offering. The company completed its third round of financing in March, raising an unspecified amount from Allen & Co – its financial advisor – IDG Ventures, Arts Alliance, Phoenix Partners and Bennett Media – the venture capital company of Ed Bennett, the former Prodigy and VH1 boss. Epstein wouldn’t say how much the company has raised in total, but said up until now the money has been from angels, rather than venture capitalists. There are four components to what Spinner.com does. The web site includes spotlight features on bands in cooperation with record companies. It also has channels listings and descriptions and news and is the source for the next two components. They are Spinner and Spinner Plus audio players. Spinner is web-based HTML window and Plus is a standalone application that does not require a browser, just a connection. All of its is RealAudio-based. The fourth elements is Spinner Faceplate, a customizable, co-branded player that can be launched from partner websites but has access to all the same songs. Faceplate partners include Macromedia, Ziff-Davis, Lilith Fair and a shortly to be announced deal with US West. Further down the line Spinner.com is working on patent-pending technology that will enable users to have two of their own channels targeted specifically at them. It is based on technology licensed from Net Perceptions, whose Recommendation engine generates profiles as people use the service. That information will be the basis of Spinner.com’s technology, about which Epstein did not want to say anymore beyond that it will be the nearest you can get to audio on demand and that it is code-named Persona. Users won’t be able to pick and choose songs because that’s illegal due to various copyright reasons, he says, but if they show an interest in one artist or type of music, it will add another to their channel that the technology deems appropriate. Spinner.com now employees 20 people.