Apple, iBiquity Digital, major radio broadcasters announce iTunes tagging for HD Radio

Responding to the desire of millions of people who discover music via their favorite local radio broadcasts, Apple, iBiquity Digital, and major radio broadcasting groups unveiled today the result of an industry-wide initiative to create a new, free service called “iTunes Tagging.”

iTunes Tagging is designed to make music discovery, purchase and listening even more fun and simple for all. iTunes Tagging enables consumers using HD Radio receivers that have been equipped with a special Tag button, to “tag” songs that they hear on the FM dial for subsequent purchase via iTunes.

“iTunes tagging takes music discovery on the radio to the next level,” said Greg Joswiak, Apple’s vice president of iPod Product Marketing, in the press release. “When a song plays on your HD Radio that you like, a simple push of a button will tag it and later give you the chance to preview, purchase, and enjoy it with iTunes and your iPod.”

Bob Struble, CEO of iBiquity Digital, the developer of HD Radio technology, said in the press release, “Research consistently shows that radio is the predominant source of music discovery. Now, with iTunes Tagging, HD Radio technology provides a cool new way to capture the songs listeners discover, buy them on iTunes and then enjoy them. We are especially pleased that so many broadcasters came together so quickly for the initial launch.”

Several major broadcasters will implement iTunes Tagging, initially across hundreds of stations. Additional stations and broadcast groups are expected to join soon, with a formal announcement of participating groups planned for later this year at the NAB Radio convention, September 26 – 28.

Struble continued, “We are delighted that JBL and Polk will have the first available products that enable iTunes Tagging. The new Polk I-Sonic Entertainment System 2 and the JBL iHD will both include the Tag button. These products will go on sale during the holiday shopping season and we anticipate several additional products that include the Tag button for both the home and the car to follow in early 2008.”

Peter Ferrara, CEO of the HD Digital Radio Alliance, the coalition of radio broadcasters formed to promote HD Radio technology commented in the press release on the broadcasters’ promotional plan for iTunes Tagging, saying, “The HD Digital Radio Alliance is tremendously excited about this great new HD Radio feature and will broadly promote iTunes Tagging. We plan a multi-million dollar advertising campaign focusing on the JBL and Polk products, as well as participating retailers.”

Mark Mays, CEO of Clear Channel Communications, Inc. commented in the press release, “Clear Channel Radio remains committed to being the leader in HD Digital Radio content on both primary and multicast channels, and our embrace of iTunes Tagging is just the latest step in that leadership. We believe that HD Digital Radio innovations such as this will continue to open up additional and new services for consumers and revenue opportunities for broadcasters.”

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jay” for the heads up.]


  1. Sandisk may hang in there since iPod shuffle pricing isn’t aggressive. 2GB for $79 would be more competitive.

    As for higher price players, Sony and Creative are already dead. Zune and MS’ betrayal is killing off the rest of the Playsforalmostsure players.

    And over at (fanboy site), the headline is “Apple Throws Down the Gauntlet, Picks it Up, Smacks Zune in the Face”. That about says it all.

  2. @ mark

    I was in the mood for a good laff … and the site you mention provided it very well …

    For example … this exchange (in the comments section) almost made me want to join in the fray :

    Quote: Originally Posted by andre

    over one year with just marginal updates like improved shuffling! the zune team has spoken with their behavior and its loud and clear.

    Indeed, it’s rather frustrating – we know they have something coming soon, so I’ll be waiting to see what they deliver…but it better be good in a number of ways or the Zune will be a footnote in history.

    I wanted to inform the poster that the Zune is already a footnote ! ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”LOL” style=”border:0;” />

    Thanx for the heads up !

  3. Kevin Gilbert–

    The difference is that while Microsoft’s strategy is to sit on its laurels, and wait to see what the market does, Apple’s strategy is to continue innovating, and raise the bar.

    MW: Morning. I love the smell of napalm in the morning!

  4. The telling point came during the Apple Special Event when the screen showed 22 countries (23 if New Zealand is added) where iTunes has established a strong digital music presence.

    iTunes sales numbers say it all. Dominance is a powerful position. How Apple uses this influence going forward will determine its market share position in both the computer and telecommunications industries.

    By contrast, Microsoft had it all for awhile, but never understood how to use this clout effectively or wisely. At first slowly, but now with increasing speed, they have marginalized themselves in the new digital age.

  5. Why don’t they integrate Pandora into iTunes??? It’s by far the best “discovering-new-music” system there ever was. The suggestion engine in iTunes is so pathetic it almost hurts. On the other hand, got banned from Europe, right?

  6. I heard my first taste of XM radio recently and I can say that I will NEVER pay for it. Why? The sound quality sucks. It’s compressed big time and every song sounds like it’s been stripped of all the verve and vibe that made the song wonderful. Go and listen to G’N’R’s “Welcome to the Jungle” and you’ll see what I mean. Gah. XM and Sirius SUCCKKKK.

  7. There’s a whole lot of people who’d like to buy the tunes they hear on the internet, particularly foreign music. But as long as customers can’t purchase music except from their home-country iTunes location, alot of sales won’t be made because much of this music can only be bought from currently non-accessable iTunes locations.

    Open up iTunes!

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