TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Spanish Firm Aims to Revolutionize OnLine Music

Spanish Firm Aims to Revolutionize OnLine Music

Lisa Minter (
Tue, 14 Jun 2005 14:32:48 -0500

By Daniel Flynn

A Spanish Internet start-up that tracks how people listen to music on
computers and other devices hopes to profit from enhancing the success
of the online music business, its chairman said on Tuesday.

MusicStrands aims to grow by using its exclusive new technology to
delve into listeners' computers, mobile phones or i-Pods to help
determine their preferences, not just what they purchase, and make
recommendations. "You can have fairly crude forms of recommendation
technology, which is just if someone picks A then you recommend B,"
Chairman Derek Reisfield told Reuters. "We are going to the next
level. We can personalise the recommendation.

"We'll look at your hard-drive and see what's out there and make
recommendations based on your music library," said Reisfield, a former
president of CBS New Media.

"We look at actual behavior patterns in terms of usage, not just

The technology can make selections based even on the time of day or
the type of music the user typically listens to following another type
of music, he said. The company asks its members for permission before
accessing their files, he said.

A third of the company's 30 employees have doctorate degrees,
including Andreas Weigend, the former chief scientist at
Inc. from 2002 to 2004.

Musicstrands offers its service free to users via its Internet
site. It earns revenues by licensing its technology to other companies
and by making referrals to online music stores such as and Inc. For each referral that turns into a sale, it collects a

The company, which launched its Web site in February, aims to have
revenues in seven figures next year and to turn a profit within three
to five years.

"Creating the surprises of a physical shopping experience is very
difficult on the Internet, and that is something we want to address,"
said Reisfield. "We want to give people different ways to navigate."

Microsoft Corp., the world's largest software maker, said last week it
was interested in offering an online music subscription service. It
launched its MSN Music download service last year to rival Apple
Computer Inc.'s iTunes.

Copyright 2005 Reuters Limited.

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