8/5/13: Australian broadcaster ARN launches iHeartRadio service

Paul Maloney
August 5, 2013 - 10:55am

ARN, the Australian Radio Network, has launched digital music service iHeartRadio in Australia and New Zealand. Of course, iHeartRadio is the online radio platform created by U.S. media giant Clear Channel.

Like the service in the U.S., the Australian iHeartRadio will offer live radio streams, a custom radio feature (a la Pandora), and reportedly more than 850 playlists curated for moods or activities called "Perfect For" channels (a la Songza).

All of ARN's broadcast stations are available as live streams on iHeartRadio now. On September 23, iHeartRadio will add ARN's "American sister stations and New Zealand’s TRN" stations, for a total of more than 900 live station streams, reports B&T.

The service is free to use for listeners, with limited advertising. The live radio streams will still contain the on-air ads of the stations, but aside from audio and video pre-rolls, the online-only features will be ad-free (as in the U.S.).

"ARN is one of the last radio networks to bring a music streaming service to market," writes B&T. "DMG Radio Australia partnered with Rdio in August last year and Songl, a joint venture between Southern Cross Austereo and DMD, launched in beta in March."

U.S.-based wecasting leader Pandora is also in Australia and New Zealand. AdNews reports Pandora will meet its target of one million Australian users in the coming months, and will soon introduce advertising to the streams.

Read more in B&T here; and in AdNews here.

Paul Maloney
August 5, 2013 - 10:55am

Listened to Walmart's online radio? How about radio from Macy's, or Pepsi, Wendy's, Supercuts, or Toyota?

Inside Radio today reports that a growing number of large advertisers are partnering with radio broadcasters and launching "client-branded online radio stations."

It's a form of what's known as "native advertising" -- a way to include ads along with content that's perhaps less obstrusive and more acceptable to consumers than traditional "commercial breaks."

Inside Radio writes, "Buyers like the exclusivity and the flexibility to experiment with different message lengths, copy points and the content itself."

Read more from Inside Radio here.

Paul Maloney
August 5, 2013 - 10:55am

Perhaps acknowledging the importance of "aided discovery" and music programming -- as well as some customers' desire for "lean-back" listening -- Spotify has introduced a new feature called "Browse" to its mobile apps. The feature spotlights expertly-curated playlists designed to accompany specific moods or activities ("romance," "jogging," "commuting") -- similar to both webcaster Songza and iHeartRadio's "Perfect For" streams.

According to CNet (who spoke with Spotify VP of product development Charlie Hellman), a staff of 35 "musicologists," music editors, and writers not only create custom playlists, but monitor usage data for the more than a billion user-created Spotify playlists to find the most popular.

A traditional differentiator between on-demand music subscription services like Spotify and true online radio has been "programming" -- the human-created selection of songs that fit together to create a listening experience.

In the past, Spotify has offered both a "custom radio" feature (a stream of music similar to a listener-supplied artist or song based on data from The Echo Nest) and basic radio genre listening ("Country," "Classic Rock," etc.).

The new "Browse" feature is available on Spotify mobile apps now, and will gradually be introduced to other platforms.

Read more in CNet here.