Get Media's Technology Helps Music Lovers Find Tunes Online

Radio broadcasts are still among the most useful resources for finding new music. They are also among the most frustrating. It's a rare occurrence anymore for announcers to tell you the name of a song and who performed it. Often, if you really want to know, you have to call the station and ask. If you're really lucky, someone might be willing to answer your question.

Get Media, a San Jose, California-based startup company, intends to change all that. The situation has gotten so bad that "people are walking into Tower Records, and they will sing the song to the clerk," says Robert Goldman, Get Media's founder and CEO. His company's software puts a radio station's entire playlist on the Internet, compete with the album cover, booklet notes, and samples of other songs on the disc. Music fans can buy the disc if they wish.

San Francisco's WLLC-FM, a pop/alternative format station that calls itself "Alice 97.3," has recently adopted Get Media's technology. In the view of WLLC's general manager, Steve DiNardo, radio and the Internet are natural partners. "We see the Internet as an additional distribution channel," he says.

Other Internet music sites, like CDnow and the Compact Disc Data Base, have search features---but they're useless if you don't know the name of the song or artist. Get Media's playlist shows the past 10 songs, which usually covers an hour or more of airtime. A telephone-ordering service is available for music fans who are away from their computers. Goldman told San Francisco Chronicle reporter Dan Fost that he plans to make the phone system voice-responsive "for safer driving."

The 39-year-old Goldman moved his family to San Jose two years ago from Rochester, New York. He is one of many who have filled Silicon Valley during the recent Internet gold rush. Get Media has a great concept---one so obvious you have to ask why radio stations haven't already done it. "We believe we're looking at a totally untapped marketplace," Goldman says. He's right; if his project flies, he'll be one rich digital prospector.