Your Personal Radio Host


Artificial assistance systems are on the rise. Whether you call them Siri, Alexa, Cortana, or something else, these solutions are brought to you by large technology firms to make your life more comfortable and for them to easily inject their services into your daily routines.

On the other hand, you have users who love listening to music and not only to songs they know and love but especially to leverage their premium subscriptions to their favorite on-demand music platforms to just browse through artists and albums to find new tracks for their music library.

Is traditional mainstream radio dead? Dead like traditional TV channels? Dead and without future? This is not certain but at the moment there are strong indicators for that. However, what is to happen to such a huge media market? Espen Systad, CEO of says, “It is a $45 billion market that, we believe, can be served better. Traditional radio is linear, mass-produced and has next to no knowledge about its listeners. We think it can be done better by making the audio stream bespoke, interactive, smart and fun.”

Bridging the gap with the app

How would you combine these two worlds? Even offering one of them in a good shape is highly complex and requires a lot of maintenance, innovation thinking, and development. Capsule.FM is a startup company, based in Berlin, Germany and  was founded by Espen Systad (Norway), Tor Langballe (Norway), and Danielle Reid (Australia) in 2012. They are working on a software solution to combine a personal music experience with an artificial assistant in one platform.

Their radio-bots mimic actual radio broadcasting hosts but they deliver only the favorite songs of the user mixed with announcements of breaking news or content from the user’s social media feeds. Once the app gets to know you, they will also try to recommend you music which you might like. So there are machine learning components as well which will shape a truly unique radio experience.

capsule-fm-configuration-ios-app-screenshot-facebook-twitter-audio-streamMore from the CEO

We talked with Espen Systad about this solution and he says, “ creates an audio stream built up by “audio-capsules”. These capsules can be a song, a podcast, a weather forecast, breaking news, a tweet, a Facebook invitation, or information about the area around you.  As you listen and interact with the different capsules, learns what you like and adjust your audio stream. When you get the content you’re into – you can amplify it or dig deeper into the content.

When you get audio you don’t like – you simply skip to the next capsule. You can also follow other listeners to discover new music or popular podcasts. In order to make the narrative super-personal we have developed 7 radio-bots to keep the narrative going. These include Miranda and Carl Hollowood (English), Heidi and Konrad (German), SamiKita ( Japan) + Lillebror and “Marte uten H” in Norwegian.”

Funding and TV ads as prizes

Being a startup company, they were naturally  interested in learning, improving, and growing their solution and business. They received a VC seed investment from Startupbootcamp Berlin (8 %) and the rest of the company is owned and was funded by the founders. They have also won €1m in TV-ads by Seven Ventures, on the ProSiebenSat.1 TV network as part of a pitching competition at Noah Conference in London a few years back. This certainly helped to boost their user base in German-speaking countries.

To appear on Android OS?

At this moment is only available on iOS. There are plans to develop versions for other platforms like Windows and Android as well, however, there are no dates committed to as far as these developments go. The machine voice speech synthesis quality of the radio-bots could be better but thus far they look promising. They are also working with SoundCloud, and premium Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and iTunes right now, planning to also incorporate Napster and other Apple music services with coming releases. We are looking forward to hearing more about in the future.

Vimeo: Launch Version 3.0

Photo credit:
Source: Espen Systad (

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Christopher Isak
Christopher Isak
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I'm Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say 'hi' sometime. ;)
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