4/1/13: Some tickets still remain for Sunday's RAIN Summit West in Vegas

Paul Maloney
April 1, 2013 - 1:00pm

Due to a temporary technical snafu this morning, our Eventbrite page indicated that this Sunday's RAIN Summit West event in Las Vegas was sold out. But tickets are, in fact, still available. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Please see the RAIN Summit West information page for details on the event, and the link to register. And, if you subscribe to the RAIN daily e-mail (and look for the maroon "Subscribe" button in the upper-right at kurthanson.com if you don't!), you have a discount code to use when you register.

See you in Vegas!

Paul Maloney
April 1, 2013 - 1:00pm

In anticipation of our second annual RAIN Summit Europe (May 23 at Hotel Bloom in Brussels, details here), we're adding a global perspective to our RAIN Summit West program with the "International Trends in Online Audio" panel. And we're honored to have several leading Internet radio and digital music CEOs taking part.

In February we announced AUPEO! CEO Holger Weiss as a panelist (announced in RAIN here) to help us explore the realities of streaming radio outside North America.

To moderate the "International Trends in Online Audio," we'll be joined by Ali Abhary, CEO of Spectrum Medya, one of Turkey's leading radio broadcasters. Abhary (right) is also founder of Biletix, Turkey's leading entertainment ticketing company, and one of that country's first and most successful Internet startups (it's now owned by Ticketmaster/Live Nation). Abhary was a panelist at our first RAIN Summit Europe last year in Berlin.

Hong T. Lau is CEO of Live365, and will join the panel. A graduate of the London School of Business with an MBA, Hong (left) has held a number of senior positions in North America and Asia in diverse industries, including that of managing director with the Jim Pattison Group. He has extensive experience in finance, acquisitions, and corporate growth strategies.

Also on board is Paramdeep Singh, Executive Chairman and one of the co-founders of Saavn, a digital distributor of Bollywood and Tamil Cinema music. Under Paramdeep's leadership, Saavn has secured partnerships with the top film production and music houses in India, and amassed the largest legitimate Bollywood music catalog available directly to end users online. Singh (lower right) graduated from the College of Arts & Sciences at Tufts University with degrees in International Relations, Economics and Entrepreneurship.

Thierry Ascarez, Radionomy VP/Business Development, rounds out the panel. Ascarez has been based in San Francisco since the company's September U.S. launch, and was once the compnay's Marketing & Communications director. Prior to joining Radionomy (which also has offices in Brussels and Paris), Ascarez (lower left) worked in promotions and digital sales for the EMI music group.

RAIN Summit West is this Sunday in Las Vegas. The annual full-day Internet radio conference is a co-located education program of the NAB Show. Now in its 12th year, the Summit focuses on the intersection of radio and the Internet. Keynoting the event will be RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (more in RAIN here) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (more here). Register today via the RAIN Summit West page. And look for the RAIN Reader Discount Code in the P.S. of your RAIN Daily e-mail (subscribe here)

Paul Maloney
April 1, 2013 - 1:00pm

The Verge columnist Greg Sandoval cites an RIAA report and statements made by SoundExchange (which collects sound recording royalties from licensed webcast services and satellite radio) to report "Pandora contributes about 25% of all the money the labels receive from the access models. (Incidentally, SoundExchange's revenue was up 58% last year.)" ("Access models" is label terminology for licensed streaming services.)

And this, according to Greg Sandoval in The Verge, is precisely why the labels need to play hardball with Pandora and Internet radio.

"Access models" "are our present and our future," RIAA CEO Cary Sherman told The Verge. "[This] underscores how vital it is to protect these increasingly important revenue streams."

In other words, the labels need to avoid destroying these revenue sources -- yet maintain the upwards pressure on royalties because they also need to maximize profit (and these services are labels' only bright spot right now). Rocco Pendola, columnist for TheStreet, says this shows "the music industry needs Pandora just as bad as -- or, dare I say, worse than -- Pandora needs them. Same goes for the rest of Internet radio."

"If access models fail," Sandoval writes, "the labels risk ending up back in a world where a single player like Apple holds all the power." Industry sources told The Verge that Apple and labels are increasingly close to a deals that would pave the way for an Apple "iRadio" streaming service.

In fact, should the record label give Apple royalty rates that are actually more affordable than the statutory streaming rates, Pandora would have "plenty of ammunition to argue on Capitol Hill that web radio is getting screwed."

Despite this, The Motely Fool is warning investors against Pandora. In a posted video, Motley Fool CTO Jeremy Phillips says Pandora is open to competitive disruption because it doesn't own the content it streams, and any deep-pocketed competitor can easily enter the business. In fact, companies like Google, Amazon, or Apple could operate streaming services at a loss to widen the market for their other businesses.

TheStreet's Pendola strongly disagrees, saying Pandora's Music Genome (its proprietary database of human collected characteristics about each song it plays that drives its algorithmic music programming) is a great example of intellectual property that can't easily be duplicated by a competitor. He also points to the fact that Pandora has been assembling both national and local sales forces to compete with broadcast radio, another accomplishment that won't be easy for a competitor to duplicate.

He writes, "Competitor after competitor has come in and done absolutely nothing to slow Pandora's growth. In fact, the growth has never stalled. In terms of listener hours and revenue, particularly on mobile, the company is as healthy as it has ever been. Don't expect that trend to reverse, even if Apple hits the market with an iRadio product."

Read Sandoval in The Verge here, see video from The Motely Fool here, and read Pendola in TheStreet here.