[ The Earbits website features large, gorgeous photos of the artists whose music you're streaming. ]
Earbits, commercial-free online radio in which streams are personalized and bands pay for airtime/market themselves to listeners, recently launched a revamped app for the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Version 2.0 lets users choose from three "regions": Earbits Worldwide is all music on the service while Earbits LA and SF Gate Radio play only bands coming to those cities. The 120 channels include pop, hip hop and electronic. Users can also hit shuffle to play songs randomly. The original app, launched in October 2010, did not have many features, such as playing music in the background.
Los Angeles-based Earbits provides radio station recommendations to tens of thousands of users monthly based on music they have previously liked, Earbits CEO and co-founder Joey Flores tells LAUNCH via email. The startup works directly with 205 record labels and streams thousands of artists.
"Right now our sole focus is building a loyal and highly engaged audience, giving them access to great artists on the web and through mobile, and helping them explore those artists and connect with them on a deeper level," Joey says.
Competitors include Pandora, Spotify, Last.fm and Turntable.fm.
"The key differentiator between our product and Pandora, Last.fm and Turntable is that we use radio solely to help sell music, concert tickets and other music-related products for our artists and labels," Joey explains. "As a result, our listeners don't have commercial breaks for unrelated sponsors. We're able to offer an ad- and commercial-free experience that consumers want, while bringing even more value to artists than they get through your run-of-the-mill ad-supported platforms."
Joey, Yotam Rosenbaum and Benjamin Bryant founded Earbits, part of the Y Combinator winter 2011 class, in January 2010. Earbits raised $605K in June from Y Combinator, Charles River Ventures, Start Fund and former Lala CEO Geoff Ralston.
Watch Joey Flores on "This Week in Startups" Episode #133 here.
Users first choose which region they want to listen to music from.
The app boasts large images from the artists, similar to the website.
CONTACTS & LINKS
Joey Flores, CEO
Email: joey at earbits dot com
Yotam Rosenbaum, EVP of Music and Artist Relations
Benjamin Bryant, VP of Technology