BlackPlanet Radio, a collaboration between Songza and a subsidiary of Radio One (not to be confused with the English radio station by the same name) called Interactive One, was designed to allow African Americans to create radio stations and share them with each other.
The service includes 53 official stations from a catalog of 14.5 million songs and thousands more that were custom-created by Radio One’s music experts. The service runs on the Songza engine; any station can be shared freely between users, but as with Songza’s main offering, a significant part of the allure is creating one’s own station and sharing it with others.
“For generations, radio has served as an integral part of the Black American experience and BlackPlanet Radio is the digital extension of that cultural pillar,” said Radio One president Barry Mayo. “We are already leaders in digital streaming as the 12th largest audio streaming company in the country. BlackPlanet Radio will build on this leadership by taking radio’s concept of music curated by people and shared with communities, and bringing it to the Web in a way that will connect our audiences more deeply. We believe the best digital music radio services will tap into people and communities — not just rely on algorithms. BlackPlanet Radio is all about the users.”
After signing in with Facebook, Twitter or a BlackPlanet log-in (we had trouble signing in with all three on an iPhone; Facebook is the only option on the web), listeners can browse by DJ, live radio, activity (city cruising, being creative, etc.), genre, mood (sweet, funky, etc.), or decade in order to find something to listen to.
The service tracks what you’ve played in the past so you can find it again and lets you save favorites to your profile. And as with the general version of Songza, BlackPlanet Radio lets you see what your Facebook friends are listening to in real time, and on the web version, a persistent toolbar player follows you around the site, so you can browse around without the music stopping.