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DAR.fm Ranks and Records Radio for Later Playback

Shows Ranked by User Activity


Michael Robertson, DAR.fm

Michael Robertson, DAR.fm

Photo: Michael Robertson, DAR.fm
(Michael Robertson is a technology entrepreneur. In 1997, Robertson founded MP3.com which was sold four years later to Vivendi/Universal. He is also founder and CEO of MP3tunes, a music cloud storage service. Now, he's the driving force behind DAR.fm, a way for radio listeners to find, rank, and record their favorite radio programs.)

Corey: What is DAR.fm?

Michael: DAR.fm is trying to be the IMDB + Tivo for radio. Radio content is more diverse than people realize with shows on nearly every imaginable topic from auto racing (35 shows) to wine (8 shows) and for the first time it's easily discoverable and recordable. Once recordable it can be played back at the user's convenience including rewinding and fast forwarding to the material that interests them the most.

Corey: DAR.fm had been in alpha for a few months with about 500 radio stations and 1500 shows. What happens now?

Michael: It was a useful recording service, but not a good discovery tool. Who wants to read an A-Z list? Today, we're officially launching v1.0 which grows the list of stations and shows by a factor of 10 to more 5000 stations and 16,000 radio shows, but more importantly instead of an alphabetical listing of shows, we cataloged and ranked each show based on actual user activity.

Users can browse this database of radio content and every show is rated by its popularity which DAR.fm deduces by measuring the more than 1 million minutes of daily recording users are doing with the system.

Corey: How did you arrive at this method?

Michael: If this ranking system sounds familiar it should because it's one of the inventions my former company MP3.com brought to make sense of the wild world of indie music. I think the same strategy can be used to help people discover radio content they would like.

Corey: You've created a list of 16,000 shows grouped by category and ranked by popularity.

Michael: You might be surprised at what the top shows are. More so, fascinating data emerges as you drill down and learn about the amazing wealth of radio content. For example there are 98 shows on home improvement and you can get a list of the most popular.

Corey: How often is the information updated?

Michael: The rankings are entirely computed based on user activity. DAR.fm is now recording more than a million minutes a day of radio and those statistics are used to create the show and regional charts. They're recalculated once per day.

Corey: And once a user finds something that looks interesting, the recording process is a no-brainer.

Michael: Clicking the red record button next to any show immediately sets up a lifetime pass where all future broadcasts are recorded. After a recording an email is sent to users alerting them that they complete show is now available for listening.

Corey: What's your vision for DAR.fm?

Michael: Radio has always been the red headed step child of media - abandoned at the gas station restroom when the rest of the family drove into the 21st century. There's no time shifting of radio. There's no interactivity (rew/ff). DAR.fm is aiming to change that and bring radio into the digital age.

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