4/9/13: Panasonic now has its own in-car Net radio platform with Aupeo!

Paul Maloney
April 9, 2013 - 2:15pm

Panasonic did more than talk about in-car Internet radio at RAIN Summit West this weekend.

Panasonic Corporation of North America and its Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America have acquired Berlin-based webcaster Aupeo, with the aim of "enhanc(ing) the leading-edge technology and customer relationship tools Panasonic is able to offer its automotive customers."

"Conventional consumer-focused music and content services do not address all the needs of car manufacturers," said Tom Gebhardt, president of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America. "Aupeo’s technologies and content delivery platform provide a solution that is complementary to Panasonic’s automotive, business-to-business and business-to-consumer product lines."

Holger Weiss is CEO of Aupeo. Hakan Kostepen is Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America Executive Director of Product Planning & Innovation. Both took part in discussion panels Sunday at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas, just a day before the acquisition was announced.

Weiss commented on the deal, "Aupeo was founded with a clear vision to deliver online and seamless content services to internet-connected devices. At that point, we saw the car as our most important focus."

Paul Maloney
April 9, 2013 - 2:15pm

There's now yet another "marketplace" deal between Clear Channel and a record label -- this time, Wind-Up Records -- that will have the broadcaster pay a share of ad revenue for its broadcast of the label's music. In exchange, Clear Channel gets a discount on its royalty obligation when it streams the same music.

One reason deals like this are significant is broadcasters in the U.S. are not compelled to pay copyright owners or performers for the broadcast use of copyright sound recordings. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998, however, requires payment for the digital use (e.g. webcasting, satellite radio, cable radio) of this material. While the music industry has long bemoaned broadcasters' free over-the-air use of its intellectual property, Internet radio and other digital services have chafed under royalty obligations that can amount to half (or more) of revenues.

Such agreements could be a sign that broadcasters like Clear Channel understand the broadcast royalty exemption may not last forever, and what's more, online delivery of content is becoming more and more vital to radio. On the other side, labels like Wind-Up perhaps see that webcasting in their future too.

Industry legal expert and authority on royalties David Oxenford has written that these deals could be pivotal in upcoming government deliberations on setting a statutory U.S. webcasting royalty rate. Without actual marketplace royalty agreements, Copyright Royalty Board judges have so far been compelled to use the "willing buyer willing seller" standard and set royalties where they think a hypothetical market players would settle. And so far, all of those determinations have been wildly in the record companies' favor.

When Clear Channel's "royalty swap" agreement with the Big Machine Label Group was announced, Oxenford wrote, "the pro-record company outcome of the CRB proceedings may well be changed if these deals can be shown to be representative of the real value of the public performance of the sound recording." (Read more in RAIN here.)

Oxenford moderated "The Song Plays On," a panel discussion concerning webcast royalties, Sunday at RAIN Summit West.

Clear Channel has struck similar deals with Glassnote Entertainment Group, Dualtone, DashGo, rpm Entertainment, Robbins Entertainment, and Naxos.

Wind-up Records launched a number of multi-platinum rock artists, including Evanescence, Creed, Finger Eleven, and Seether, and has brought on Five for Fighting, O.A.R. and The Darkness, among others.

Paul Maloney
April 9, 2013 - 2:15pm

Over the next few days, we'll be recapping the panels and presentations from the RAIN Summit West conference in Las Vegas on Sunday right here in RAIN, as well as archived audio of the entire day's content from TuneIn and Backbone Networks. Today we want to point out some of the fine coverage of the event in these other industry news sources:

Tom Taylor Now (which was a media sponsor of the event) has excellent summaries of the Summit's first segment in its early Monday morning edition here.  

Inside Radio published extensive, front-to-back coverage of the Summit on Monday morning as well, here.

All Access also went wall-to-wall with keynote, panel, and presentation summaries here.

RadioInfo has coverage today too, here.

Thanks to all these news sources for their coverage of RAIN Summit West.

Paul Maloney
April 9, 2013 - 2:15pm

Pandora has registered its 200 millionth U.S. user, the company announced. The leading webcaster has doubled its base of registered users since July of 2011, when it hit the 100 million milestone (that's less than two years ago).

Pandora registered its first user in 2005. Sunday at RAIN Summit West, Larry Rosin (Edison Research) and Bill Rose (Arbitron) revealed their "The Infinite Dial" research confirmed the importance of the radio listener database (here).

The webcaster has created an infographic with some interesting stats (partially reproduced here, but click through to see the entire thing).

Paul Maloney
April 9, 2013 - 2:15pm

TV5 New Media in the Philippines has lauched Balut Radio, a customizable Internet radio service featuring Original Pinoy Music (OPM) and internation hits, for listening in that country.

The new service was built on Portland, Oregon-based radio software development firm Social Radio's platform.

Balut Radio features dozens of curated channels listeners can customize, plus a "build your own" channel feature. The service adds radio voice talent integrated into the personalized channels, plus news and information, artist interviews, and live performance video.

Social Radio is using the Balut Radio launch to introduce new audience metrics to its offerings. The company says it will measure "number of unique devices," "distinct user accounts," and "average percentage of song played," and offer these sorts of metrics to other Social Radio clients.

In working in the Philippines, Social Radio sees a distinct advantage when it comes to intellectual property use.

Steve Allaway, Social Radio’s CEO, explained the service's position: "Because there is sensible royalty legislation in the Philippines, we’re able to really exercise the capabilities we architected into Social Radio... dedications, individual song sharing to Facebook with a link back to that song in the player, showing listeners what songs are coming up next... those are a few of the features... that would make the service completely illegal in the United States."

Balut Radio is "geo-blocked" from countries with performance license legislation less-favorable to services (like the U.S.). Listeners in American can access a limited set of Balut Radio features that Social Radio says are within Digital Millennium Copyright Act parameters.

TV5 is a major Filipino commercial television network.