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An interview with Michael Robertson, founder of MP3.com, Gizmo5, MP3Tunes and more, on disruption, free markets and his new app, '6 Seconds'

Posted on May 12, 2015 by Scenic Labs | 0 comments

Scenic Labs is also the publisher of an online tech news site called SiliconExit.com.  As the A/V and broadcast industries have continually faced disruption, I wanted to cross-post our interview here. 

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While reviewing the 6 Seconds app for this week’s edition, I recalled a time, 15 years ago, when I invited the founder, Michael Robertson’s previous company, MP3.com to meet with my now-defunct division at BMG Entertainment.  While he was not in attendance, his executives explained how the company was preparing for a day when we streamed all of our music over our phones.

He was right about streaming music, just as he was right about desktop Linux, online app stores, and voice over IP.  Michael Robertson is perpetually heading into the horizon rather than looking in the rear view, and I wanted to know what makes him tick.  I was delighted that he agreed to help us kick off our Silicon Exit interview series.

Thank you, Michael, for taking the time to speak with Silicon Exit about your new project, 6 Seconds.

JR: 6 Seconds is really clever.  It really gives the listener an unprecedented level of control over what they hear, and it does so on the back of an old fashioned online media — namely online radio.  Was this in the cards when you built RadioSearchEngine.com, or did the data open your eyes and lead you to a realization that there’s this “dust cloud” of hit songs that are playing in constant rotation out of the over 100,000 radio stations that you index?

MR:It was an evolving idea. Initially we built a DVR for radio at DAR.fm. (DAR – get it?) To do this we had to go through the laborious task of cataloging online stations and broadcast schedules of talk stations. With this foundation it seemed like a natural extension to write the spiders which would track music stations as well.

 

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