The Buzz @ SF Music Tech: ‘Lean Back,’ Android, Social Media and more

By Glenn Peoples

A handful of topics, terms and companies stood out at this week’s SF Music Tech Summit. Here’s a short list compiled from listening to panel discussions and conversing with people throughout the day.

The “lean back” experience
On panels and in conversation, one person after another extolled the virtues of the “lean back” model offered by personalized Internet radio services. (A non-interactive service allows the user to “lean back” and enjoy the music. An on-demand service tends to require more effort and is a “lean forward” experience.) Daren Tsui of mSpot, which also offers a music locker service, said his company’s radio service for AT&T customers (launched in May 2009 and powered by CBS Radio and has “hundreds of thousands of paying customers paying $5 per month.”

Surprisingly, even die-hard music people, the types who spend countless hours seeking out and listening to music, readily admit that a hands-free “lean back” listening experience is more than adequate most of the time. “Once you get over the ‘gee whiz’ of on-demand,” said TAG Strategic’s Ted Cohen, “I get tired of them very quickly.” In those instances you have enough time for a deep dive into an artist’s history and catalog, on-demand services are great. Otherwise personalized Internet radio does the job — and a few services do it very well.

One caveat, however, is that people acknowledge that a “lean back” service can be hampered by repetitive playlists.

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Posted by Ted • Wednesday, December 8, 2010 .