iTunes tagging is technology built into some HD radios and cars with HD radio, like certain Ford models with Sync.They show you on a display what song is playing right now, and then you can press a button to “tag” that song. If you plug in your iPod at some point after that, then later on when you sync it with iTunes it’ll bring up an iTunes Store playlist of all the songs that you tagged, and you can buy them there if you want.
Sounds great, right? But there is some other information you should know too.
iTunes tagging only works with certain radios
To use iTunes tagging on your radio or car radio, it has to be an HD radio that specifically says it supports iTunes tagging.
iTunes tagging may or may not only work with more-recent iPods
iLounge.com’s “Complete Guide to iTunes Tagging” says that it only works with fifth-gen iPods, and third-gen iPod Nanos. CNet has a review of an HD radio that works with the iPhone 3G, though, while crutchfield.com says it works with any “docking iPod.”
Apple’s website doesn’t say what kind of iPod you need at all, so if you’re buying an HD radio with iTunes tagging, you might want to ask and make sure.
iTunes tagging only works in the United States…
according to this pdf on Apple’s site, anyway.
iTunes tagging only works if your HD radio station supports it
Which, not all of them do. To get an idea of what’s involved on the broadcaster’s end, take a look at iBiquity Digital’s introduction to iTunes tagging, or click the above link to the pdf on Apple’s site. If iLounge.com’s “Complete Guide to iTunes Tagging” is correct, it doesn’t always work correctly, either.
If you can get a compatible HD radio tuner, iPod and HD station to align, and you live in the United States, you might get some use out of iTunes tagging! It does sound kinda convenient. Not as convenient as actually being able to record the songs that you hear, mind, which we used to be able to do in the days of cassette tapes … but still!
Alternately, you could just use Shazam’s free iPhone or Android app, which lets you hold your phone up to the radio to identify a song and then buy it.
Either way, I hope you have fun with your music!