News > Technology offers online radio
February 1, 2000: 6:17 p.m. ET launches service providing music, book excerpts
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - launched on Tuesday an Internet radio service that allows users to listen to songs and audio book excerpts.
    The online division of book retailer Barnes and Noble expects the new service, which also provides artist bios and discography, to boost sales of music and audio books from its online music store, which was launched last July.
    "What bn radio does is it adds existing value to the customer experience," said Daniel Blackman, the company's director of music, video and software. "Customers can listen to full-length songs while shopping and learn about an artist while it's playing. How many times have you been in your car listening to a song and the DJ doesn't tag it? You don't' know what it is." (BNBN: Research, Estimates), which expects to post its fourth-quarter earnings Thursday, said online music sales have been strong, and that entering the increasingly popular realm of Web casting is a way of further bolstering those sales.
    Visitors to the site click on an icon that opens up a "tuner" on which several options are available. Listeners can choose from more than 25,000 songs in 16 music styles, and three-to-five-minute selections from audio books.
    The tuner remains active, playing a particular song, while the user browses other sites, Blackman said. Individual songs are not downloadable, though.
    Joan Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for Arbitron Co., which recently began tracking listeners of online radio, said more e-tailers will turn to Web casting as the next step in marketing products online.
    "I think that Web casting is going to be a central strategy to a lot of e-commerce applications that are out there," Fitzgerald said. "Entertainment- oriented content is going to be central. There is a tremendous opportunity for e-commerce as it drives listeners and viewers to a site with the entertainment value of Web casting."
    A survey conducted by Arbitron revealed that 14 percent of Internet users said they listened to Web casts, online radio. That's up from the 6 percent who said they listened to Web casts in January 1998.
    On Monday,, named Audible Inc. as its exclusive provider of Internet-spoken audio services. The agreement between Amazon and Audible will allow Amazon shoppers to download speeches, radio programs and other audio files.'s shares closed down Tuesday 5/16, or 3 percent, to 11-5/16 Back to top


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