Listening to music online is either about leaning forward or leaning back. You either know which songs you want to listen to and go out to find them, say using an on-demand service such as Spotify, or you're not quite sure what you want to listen to, so you turn to a service, such as Pandora, that attempts to find out for you.
The free service, rethought and relaunched by the team behind Blip.fm, describes itself as "people-powered radio," meaning it serves as a kind of hub for amateur DJs who power the service's radio stations. Anyone can create and maintain their own custom station, though if you just want to sit back and listen to someone else's tracks, you can do that, too.
Fuzz's experiment with people-driven online radio is similar to what Turntable.fm tried—and for a brief time wildly succeeded—to do. But on Fuzz, DJs don't have to wait for an open slot to play their tracks, and listeners don't have to worry about listening to music played by people who have nothing in common with them, musically. Users can make the listening experience as active or passive as they want.
Fuzz CEO Jeff Yasuda tells Bloomberg Fuzz will rely on ads and charge a premium for an ad-free version of the service. But Yasuda also tells the L.A. Times, "The advertising model is a pretty tough hill to climb. So we're looking for different ways to monetize." No doubt monetization will be a top priority, as high costs and a low user base were what caused the first version of Fuzz to flop.
If Fuzz attracted enough users, one logical monetization route could be to charge labels, bands, and promoters to promote their own channels on the site, which serve as easy ways to plug their own material.
[Image: Flickr user David'n'Sheila]