Net radio scarce among 2012's Top Music Startups lists

Paul Maloney
December 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

Some industry observers and investment experts have said the high cost of sound recording royalties is an obstacle to investment in startups that need to license music from major labels (see RAIN here).

Tech VC David Pakman (a New York Venrock partner) testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet regarding the state of Internet radio licensing and the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Although he co-created Apple's Music Group and was CEO of eMusic, he's vowed not to return to nor invest in digital music until the licensing climate changes. As he testified, "Although we have met many great entrepreneurs with great product ideas, we have resisted investing in digital music largely for one reason — the complications and conditions of the state of music licensing." (Read his full testimony here).

So, what might it say that Billboard's Ten Most Internesting Startups of 2012 "doesn't have a single service on the list that requires licenses from record labels to operate?"

Note that it's not likely that poor ad revenue is keeping services from launching. The IAB says (here) Q3 2012 online ad revenue is the most ever for a single quarter. And eMarketer just revised their U.S. mobile ad spend projections, saying it will grow 180% this year (see our coverage in today's issue here).

Whatever the reason, 2012's startup roster lacks some of the bang of years past (Rdio, Spotify, iHeartRadio in recent years). Billboard's list does include a couple of firms that make apps for Spotify and are "radio-related":

Sounddrop: adds a social media element to Spotify radio listening
Tunewiki: synchronizes lyrics with music.

Musically's list was more extensive (40 startups), so it included more companies that are doing things along the lines of Internet radio. Musically's list includes:

Senzari: (which we've covered) Customized radio streams for European markets 
Audiogalaxy: "radio-style mixes," now owned by Dropbox
MPme: iPad app suggests radio stations based on user's listening habits and music collection
Piki: app which builds radio-style playlists based on friends' song recommendations
SpotOn Radio: Spotify app which makes Spotify radio listening more like Pandora.

See Billboard's "Ten Most Interesting" here. See Musically's "40 Music Startups and services to watch" here.

Paul Maloney
December 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

According to eMarketer, U.S. mobile ad spending is growing faster than previously expected.

The news source predicts overall mobile ad spending in the U.S. to top $4 billion this year (180% growth), $7.19 billion next year, and over $20 billion by 2016.

EMarketer says this year's unexpected growth is "due in large part to the success of so-called 'native' ad formats like Facebook's mobile newsfeed ads and Twitter's Promoted Products.

"These products represent a seamless experience across platforms for consumers—which means platform owners are able to successfully earn (or, in some cases, not lose) revenue as consumers continue to increase time spent on mobile devices with smaller screens unsuited to the bulk of desktop display advertising inventory."

Read more from eMarketer here.

Paul Maloney
December 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

Dial Global has picked Launchpad Digital Media to represent its podcast programming.

Launchpad is a division of Courtside Entertainment Group which represents on-demand and streaming podcast programming delivering over 90 million downloads a month.

We covered Launchpad in October (here) when it announced signing talent like Adam Carolla, Dr. Drew, Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist), Mark Maron, Penn Jillette, and other well-known names in podcasting to the platform. Dial Global talent and programming that may be represented on on Launchpad includes Dennis Miller, Loveline, Billy Bush, Charles Osgood, Country programming, DG Sports, and NBC Sports Radio.

Read Dial Global's press release here.