8/15/13: Rhapsody shares lessons of the benefits of well-programmed music

Paul Maloney
August 15, 2013 - 11:20am

We've read (and written) lots on the increasing importance of "music curation" (what radio pros call "programming") for music subscription services.

It's great to offer tens of millions of songs, but how does a listener start? Millions have grown up with the radio and developed the habit of "lean-back" listening -- flip a switch, and "music!" Music subscription services are doing more and more to offer customers effortless experiences of music they'll enjoy (we've recently covered Spotify's new "Browse," Rdio's "Stations" -- and Beats Music's very mission as a service "heavy on curation").

Jon Maples, who's VP of product-content at musis service Rhapsody, today shares some of what his company has learned about how music programming impacts customer usage.

Beyond solving what Maples calls "the catalog problem" for the user ("What do I listen to?"), good music curation can help maintain an audience by minimizing "churn."

Churn is that rate at which customers abandon a service. Since it's expensive to constantly acquire new users, business naturally want to minimize churn. Maples says the key is to keep listeners active -- give them reasons to keep coming back and using the service.

"It seems obvious, but if a customer uses the product more, they are less likely to leave. In fact, we've found if we can get a customer to play more than 50 tracks a month, the churn rate drops in the double digits," he writes. We've "utilized curation as a driver, so that every time our members fire up the service, they're going to get something new to play."

He points to Rhapsody's "Featured" section, and the prominence of the service's curated playlists, stations, and posts. And it's important to apply that expert programming across as wide an offering as possible -- "speaking to a wide variety of tastes and interests," as Maples puts it. "Our best customers listen to more than 200 subgenres a year."

Rhapsody SVP/Product Paul Springer will speak on the "Streaming Music Trends" at RAIN Summit Orlando on September 17. More information and registration is here.

Read more from Rhapsody's Maples in Hypebot here.

Paul Maloney
August 15, 2013 - 11:20am

Sprint's new HTC One comes preloaded with NextRadio, the Emmis-developed app that tunes in radio via FM. The new phone will be available Friday, accordint to GigaOm.

NextRadio uses the phone's FM receiver chip to tune in local FM radio (not streaming data) -- which is far more power- and data-efficient.

The app does use some data, however, as it displays a "now playing" visual, allows listeners to browse artist and album info, purchase music, and share song links.

Sprint HTC One owners can also download the app free from Google Play (it'll also work on the HTC EVO 4G LTE). Sprint reportedly will make the app available on other devices in the future.

Read more in GigaOm here.

 

Paul Maloney
August 15, 2013 - 11:20am

Podcast network PodcastOne has announced it will use Abacast's Clarity Digital Radio system for ad insertion, managing ad campaigns, audience measurement, and live and on-demand program delivery.

PodcastOne launched earlier this year as a division of Courtside Entertainment Group. It hosts nearly 200 podcasts from Radio Lab, Adam Carolla, 60 Minutes, Freakonomics Radio, Dr. Drew, CBS News, and more.