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6 seconds: turning radio into an unlimited jukebox

A new app makes music radio discoverable by the music it plays, and makes radio a viable alternative to Spotify

By James Cridland
Posted 21 April 2015, 10.48am edt
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A new app on iOS and Android, 6 Seconds, promises to turn the web's 100,000 radio stations into an unlimited jukebox.

The app uses technology that monitors what songs radio stations are playing in real time. A search for a popular artist gives a list of stations who have just started playing the song - mostly within 6 seconds, hence the name.

I tested it out: artists like Taylor Swift do well, with lots of plays as you'd expect.

I searched for The Eels, and found "Rad Rock Radio" playing Susan's House. As promised, it was close to the start of the track, and sounded good. The app displayed the wrong album artwork - Wonderful Glorious instead of Beautiful Freak, but album artwork is, in general, a mess anyway, so I don't hold this app responsible.

Of course, since I'd tuned into a radio station to hear the song, the station continues going into another bunch of songs: and it's likely that these songs will be related. In this case, the plethora of automated, non-stop music stations online is a benefit, since it allows the app to offer a Pandora-like music service.

It also enables listeners to discover new stations they weren't aware of. A user can favourite a station for later use, though currently can't discover any more information about the station. Rad Rock Radio is an online-only station from Seattle, it turns out; but I needed to jump out of the app to discover that.

If you suffer from "search blindness", the app also offers a choice of different genres, too. Unlike some free music services, it offers unlimited skips, naturally.

Weirdly, because metadata is pushed quicker than the audio in some cases, you can sometimes catch a song before it even begins, too.

As a discovery mechanism for radio stations, this is pretty good. Being able to favourite the stations gives potential of repeat listeners; and it's likely to surface a bunch of new radio stations. If radio stations are well-branded they should benefit from appearing in this app.

Unlike some services, this appears a win-win for music radio stations. They'll certainly get in front of a whole new set of audiences; and the playing-field for SEO is entirely flat, being driven purely by now-playing information.

The app could do with a little design love, and appears not to always quit correctly on Android - leaving a now-playing notification going even when the app is apparently exited - but it's early days, and it'll be interesting to see how this app continues to develop.

Press release

6 Seconds Turns The World of Radio Into A Personal Jukebox

A new free mobile music experience from digital music pioneer Michael Robertson

6 Seconds is a new music experience which turns the entire world of radio into a personal jukebox. The free experience gives music fans greater control and flexibility to hear more of the music they want on their smartphone than ever before. It’s available immediately on Android and iOS at http://www.UnlimitedSkips.com.

Those familiar with Pandora will recognize a familiar artist or genre based radio experience with the added benefit of unlimited skips. Selecting a genre plays the most popular songs from that style as determined by what stations DJs are playing. Skipping songs is performed by a quick swipe anywhere on the screen. Unlimited skips ensures listeners never get stuck on a song they don’t like and can always find a song for any mood.

6 Seconds has a powerful search capability that helps users find a specific song or artist to play. In under a second, users can scan 100,000 online radio stations for a specific song or artist. If located, they can tune into the broadcast with a simple click on the title which will connect them directly to that station. A huge library of stations and smart algorithms connects to most popular songs within 6 seconds of the beginning.

"6 Seconds is the first free mobile music experience with unlimited skips and search so music listeners can hear the songs they desire, more often," says Robertson.

"Listeners can favorite any song and at anytime, quickly search for their faves playing anywhere in the world. This “song hunting” makes the listening experience fun and personal.”

An easy to use, gesture based interface drives 6 Seconds. A swipe left skips. Up swipe reveals a search interface. Down swipe displays genres and any favorite song currently playing anywhere in the radio universe.

A database of 100,000 digital stations powers 6 Seconds. Internet only and online AM/FM stations around the world are cataloged and then continually indexed to detect their currently playing artist and song. This information is collected into a radio search engine.

The app is on Android and iOS.

James Cridland — James is the Managing Director of media.info, and a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. His website is at james.cridland.net, where you can subscribe to his weekly newsletter.
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