News is breaking that many HD radio stations in the US are installing special technology that links the song being played with the iTunes store so you can buy what you hear. There are some who think that its giving a little too much away to Apple who are already, if you haven’t noticed, a little dominant in this area.
Here in the UK, there’s a service about to launch called Cliq. Cliq sucks playlist data from radio stations and then allows JAVA or DAB enabled phones to download the songs for a small fee. I guess the difference is that Cliq themselves have built some value-added technology on top of the radio stations and selected hardware. Whereas the HD example above seems to have hard-wired the system into the newest iteration of HD itself.
I’m not sure how beneficial it is to ‘lock’ something as potentially valuable as content downloads at the device level down to one platform. What happens if people stop liking iTunes, or it gets discontinued (cf Virgin’s Download service)? I’m not saying this will happen, but surely it would have been more sensible for stations to provide ‘now playing’ data through an API and then allow a variety of hardware/software manufacturers to be able to hook into that?
This would have still allowed HD Radio to say “download music at the touch of a button” but allowed consumers to choose the music store that they like to use, whether that’s iTunes or not.