No, this isn't tagging in the Web sense, as in "folksonomy" (del.icio.us, et al.), but rather new capabilities built into certain HD Radio receivers that will enable listeners who are using those receivers to listen to stations that are encoding their music in a certain way to tag songs as they hear them and have those data sent to iTunes for purchase of the songs.
Two recent articles in Radio World describe the process:
From Polk, JBL Radios Combine HD-R, iPod & iTunes Tagging:
... Using Apple iTunes tagging, users can buy songs they hear on HD Radio stations. The radio stores information about the tagged songs to its memory and transfers the tags to an iPod when docked. When the consumer connects the iPod to his/her computer, iTunes automatically presents the songs in a new Tagged play-list for the consumer to preview, buy, and download. ...
Link: Radio World.
And from ‘Go Commerce’ Available for iTunes HD-R Tagging and Analog RDS:
... Jump2Go Founder/CTO Allen Hartle told Radio World that with its proprietary technology, the company is the sole provider of the behind-the-scenes service that synchronizes a staion’s programming with the iTunes unique song identifiers that make RDS and HD Radio “tagging” possible. This is in addition to iTunes-based e-commerce fulfillment on station Web sites. ¶ The tagging service for Apple iTunes and HD Radio begins with a station’s automation system, using BE’s The Radio Experience software relaying on-air events to the Jump2Go data center for “tagging.” The Jump2Go service assigns the unique iTunes identifier to each song and then the tag data is inserted into the IBOC bitstream. (For RDS tagging, songs get two identifying numbers, one for iTunes and another Jump2Go number that the company could use for other MP3 player song services such as the Microsoft Zune in the future, Hartle said.) ...
Link: Radio World.
Mark Ramsey, an HD Radio skeptic, seems to think they're nuts in a post, And the good ideas keep on coming... Link: hear 2.0.
This does have a sort of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" feel to it, though it does provide an interesting new avenue for revenue and another incentive for people to buy HD Radio receivers. I'm inclined to support it, though, since I'm attracted to the idea of marrying HD Radio and Internet radio in one box and we need all the incentives for people to get started in HDR that we can find. --Dennis