Gracenote wants to take on iRadio and Pandora with new radio API

Media recognition specialist Gracenote thinks Pandora (S P) and Apple’s (S AAPL) iRadio could use some competition, which is why the company will release a new API next month that will enable any company to launch a personalized radio service.

Gracenote’s new API, dubbed Rhythm, can be used to build radio offerings that start a customized stream based on an artist, a song, a genre or even a mood. Listeners will be able to like or skip songs, much like on Pandora. And just like the leader in online radio, Rhythm will be based on online radio rules specified in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), meaning that anyone using Rhythm to power an online radio offering won’t have to strike individual licensing deals with record labels.

By offering this kind of music intelligence solution for radio services, Gracenote is competing more squarely with the Echonest, whose music recommendation services have been powering radio-like offerings for services like Rdio, Spotify and Vevo. It’s also an interesting complementary offering for Gracenote’s new owner Tribune Media Services, which recently bought the company from Sony (S SNE) for $170 million.

Tribune Media Services has long been known for providing TV manufacturers and others with electronic programming guides, but with Gracenote, the company is looking to extend into the audio and radio space. Especially with cars becoming more connected, Gracenote sees a big future in radio-like solutions, Gracenote President Stephen White told me during a recent interview.

Check out my interview with White below:


Image courtesy of Flickr user C.P.Storm.