1/9/13: Sprint to enable FM tuning on select new Android and Windows phones

Paul Maloney
January 9, 2013 - 1:45pm

U.S. wireless carrier Sprint announced that select new Android and Windows phones will enable FM radio listening by way of the NextRadio tuner app.

To be clear: the phones will receive on-air, FM broadcast content (as opposed to streaming via the data network).

The NextRadio app, developed by Emmis Digital and announced in November, will enable "backchannel" data that will allow broadcasters to supply additional information ("now playing data," images to accompany ads, for instance). This data link will also allow communication in the other direction (for the listener to interact with programming).

Unrelated to the FM radio news, Sprint also announced a streaming app bundle called "Entertain Me" for the "Sprint Zone" on Android phones. "Enterain Me" will include apps for iHeartRadio, Slacker, Spotify, and Sprint Music Plus (downloads and ringtones) -- as well as other entertainment options.

Paul Maloney
January 9, 2013 - 1:45pm

Industry-leading webcaster Pandora this week announced its listening hours, share of total U.S. radio listening, and number of "active listeners" all grew in December.

Pandora reports streaming 1.39 billion hours of content last month. That's up from both November (1.27 billion) and December 2011 (906 million).

This means, says Pandora, that its share of all U.S. radio listening is now 7.19%. The webcaster reported its U.S. radio share as 7.09% in November, and 4.71% for the previous December.

Finally, Pandora's pool of "active listeners" grew to 67.1 million by the end of last month, up from 62.4 million in November and 47.6 million a year earlier.

You can see our coverage of Pandora's November 2012 listening here.

Paul Maloney
January 9, 2013 - 1:45pm

Jennifer Lane, in her Audio4Cast blog, takes the record industry to task for its treatment of webcasters on its WhyMusicMatters.com website.

The music industry site serves as a directory for consumers to find legitimate, licensed music services. Lane describes the site's presentation of various services offering "downloads/mp3s," "streaming," and more.

But while on-demand and music subscription services (as well as services in a category called "Premium Internet Radio") are given bold-face "headline" names, brief text descriptions, and thumbnail images, most webcasters are relegated to a "statutory services" page "where the listener has to click through hundreds of alphabetized radio stations (no logos, no descriptions, no links) to find one," according to Lane.

"I’m disappointed in the site," she writes. "Unfortunately, this site is a glaring in-your-face example of a bad business partnership. Internet radio services, Pandora in particular, are paying a lot of money in royalties to SoundExchange, the royalty collection arm of the RIAA, and in return they get a listing buried deep in the site with no logo or link."

She continues: "Is there any other business you can think of where the vendors treat their retailers so badly? Because that’s what this is, it’s streaming services buying the rights to content and offering it to consumers. And clearly the RIAA and NARM are bad business partners for Internet radio."

Read her blog here