Guest post by Daniele Calabrese, Founder and CEO of Soundtrckr

First off, thanks to Brian Hoskins, Sr. Technical Evangelist in the Emerging Business Team, for giving us the opportunity to post today. Before we get into who we are and what we do, we’d like to take a quick look at the state of streaming radio.

At present, more than 60 million people listen to streaming radio each week, and annual revenue for content providers is projected to reach $394 million by the end of 2010. These numbers are expected to double (and then some) by 2013, climbing to 150 million listeners and $827 million in advertising revenues.

So it’s safe to say that streaming radio is ready for the American mainstream. All the requisite user behaviors and market conditions are firmly in place, and communications technology has caught up to the promise of personalized content delivery whenever and wherever we want it.

Consequently, we’ve got more access to music and more avenues for music discovery than ever before. But this hasn’t come without a cost – in the process of building up the streaming radio ecosystem, we’ve outsourced much of the way we experience music to machines. The sense of place, immediacy and community that was so integral to terrestrial radio has largely gone ignored, and in terms of content the dominant streaming radio services tend to be limited by impersonal recommendation algorithms or undersized catalogs. Latent taste indicators like a listener’s location and social circle are too often disregarded, lesser-known artists and songs are frequently unavailable, and the excitement of discovering an amazing new artist is generally experienced alone. Ultimately this makes for a narrower and far more isolated listening experience, one that Soundtrckr intends to fix.

Our solution is a blend of streaming radio, social networking and location-awareness. We take full advantage of smartphone functionality to help our users discover and share music in a truly social way. The basic idea is simple – Soundtrckr users get free and legal access to more than 8 million songs, from which they can create and share personal radio stations, search their neighborhood for popular artists, and play music with their friends in real time. This last one is especially cool, and is a perfect example of how Soundtrckr connects music fans in a concrete way. If I’m tuned into a station here in DC, my friends in San Francisco can listen along with me track-for-track, and we can all chat together while we listen. Similarly connective is the Nearby Music feature, which gives users an insight into the musical aesthetics of their city and their neighborhood and enables them to reach out to nearby music fans with similar tastes.

Of course, none of this would be possible without smartphones, so we’re currently hard at work porting Soundtrckr to as many new platforms as possible. We’re especially excited to be developing an app for Windows Phone 7 – it’s an incredibly elegant mobile OS, and really helps Soundtrckr shine. The app will be available when WP7 launches this fall.

In the meantime, you can try Soundtrckr on the web at<>. The new model of radio is rapidly taking shape, and we’d love to show you around.

Daniele Calabrese

Founder and CEO @Soundtrckr