5/14/13: RAIN Summit Europe experts will discuss radio's mobile future

Paul Maloney
May 14, 2013 - 11:50pm

Those who follow Internet radio -- like RAIN readers -- are likely familiar with Media UK managing director James Cridland. The self-described "radio futurologist" will give the featured presentation at RAIN Summit Europe (now less than two weeks away).

He was digital media director of Virgin Radio in London, and joined the BBC in 2007 to work on the BBC iPlayer for radio. Since then he's worked with various audio and new media companies (including receiver manufacturer Pure and stream aggregator UK Radioplayer) He organizes the nextrad.io radio conference, and is a founder of hybrid radio tech association RadioDNS.

Cridland's "The Future of Radio: Mobile and Personalised" will examine the medium's future on portable devices, in the context of case studies of broadcasters from all over the world.

Later in the afternoon Cridland (right) will return to moderate a panel discussion on a very similar topic. "Mainstream Mobile" participants will share their views on "best practices" for building listenership on mobile devices and monetizing it.

Two CEOs, both from Germany, join this panel. Based in Hamburg, Christian Richter leads Spoiled Milk, an international digital agency and consultancy on brand management and user experience. Richter (left) is a serial-entrepreneur: he's co-founder of Net radio tuning guide radio.de, and also founder of digital and marketing solutions wathory.com.

Holger Weiss is Berlin-based AUPEO! CEO. AUPEO! is personalized Internet radio with over 120 channels, available in over 40 countries. Weiss (right) joined AUPEO! in 2010 after working for Nokia. He's a specialist in business development, contract negotiations, strategic alliances, leadership, and sales. He spoke at RAIN Summit West.

Interestingly, just after RAIN Summit West, came news that AUPEO! had been acquired by Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America (a division of Panasonic Corporation of North America and an integrated supplier to the automotive industry in North America) (see RAIN here). Hakan Kostepen (left, who also spoke at RAIN Summit West) is that company's executive director of product, planning & innovation. He's part of the leadership behind the company's in-car integration and development of all Panasonic Company technologies and products to optimize the "in-car user experience." Kostepen was responsible for "industry first" Jaguar S-Type Voice Recognition Infotainment System. He's based in the U.S.

Also an engineer by training, Ulrich Köring (right) is head of new media for Austrian hit music broadcaster Kronehit. There he handles all digital products, including the website, side-channels, podcasts, and social networks. His experience also includes work at Radioszene industry trade magazine.

"Mainstream Mobile's" final panelist is online audio distribution platform Soundcloud VP/business development Dave Haynes (left), from the UK. Soundcloud, originally started in Stockholm, but established in Berlin, launched in 2008 and now boasts over 10 million registered users. Hayes himself is a former DJ who has run a record label, a record store, and worked in digital music distribution. He writes a blog and hosts the OpenMusicMedia meetups in London, and organizes Music Hack Day events.

Limited space is still available for RAIN Summit Europe, May 23 at Brussels' Hotel Bloom. All the details, including registration links, are on the RAIN Summit Europe page here.

Paul Maloney
May 14, 2013 - 11:50pm

We've heard recently that Apple's "iRadio" webcasting service has hit snags in licensing discussions with rights owners (most recently here).

It's important to note that any such deals that result from negotiation with labels mean Apple will not operate under the statutory webcast license (any service willing to operate within the statutory's requirements can pay that rate -- no negotiation needed). A direct license with labels could allow Apple to avoid the statutory's specific limitations on the use of music (its prohibition on "on-demand" and other measures known as the "sound performance complement"). It might even grant Apple a preferred royalty rate.

Such an arrangement would also free the labels from the statutory's required 50/50 split of the royalties with performers. As per the DMCA, the royalties SoundExchange collects from webcasters operating under the statutory license get split between copyright owners (record labels, who get 50%) and performers (the featured performer gets 45%, with 5% going to musicians unions for backup performers).

But the DMCA also allows for copyright owners to negotiate directly with webcasters, which is what appears to be happening with Apple. In such a case, the DMCA's requirements (like the "sound performance complement" and the "50/45/5" split) don't apply. Performers would still most likely earn something from webcast plays on a service with a direct license, under the terms of their particular contract with their record label. But if some artists are chafing at what they're paid by webcasters paying the statutory, they'll likely make far less from Apple iRadio plays.

"And so, it didn’t take a rocket scientist to anticipate that direct licenses for an iRadio service could get negotiated at rates below the webcaster rates formally established through the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) or published Settlement agreement," writes Washington and Lee University assistant professor David Touve in Rockonomic here.

It's feasible to imagine that a record label, no longer required to share 50% of the webcasting royalties, could grant a major licensee like Apple a significant discount, and still earn more than it would under that statutory. Apple's savings, and the labels' bonus, would come from what performers would have earned under the statutory license.

Paul Maloney
May 14, 2013 - 11:50pm

New research indicates that for streaming music services, 70% or more of registrations are likely abandoned.

Digital Music News reports on research by Midia's Mark Mulligan on services Deezer and Spotify. Mulligan found that 73% and 70%, respectively, of these services' registered listeners sign up, and don't return.

"What the numbers show is that inactive users is a big problem for streaming services, which in actual fact means that churn is a bid problem for streaming services," Mulligan wrote in his blog. "The important point is... that streaming services as a whole have a problem with churn."

Yesterday Clear Channel announced that its iHeartRadio platform has reached 30 million registered users (more here), but gave no indication of what percentage use the service on a regular basis.

Spotify' Daniel Ek identifies that this affects all businesses with a free tier that requires registration. Mulligan indeed points out that this isn't unique to music services. Only roughly 25%-35% of registered users of social networks like Google+ and Twitter use those services regularly (see here). Mulligan's blog entry is here. Digital Music News covers it here.