RAIN 11/18: Get productive this weekend with DIY web radio projects

Michael Schmitt
November 18, 2011 - 12:00pm

RAIN's DIY web radio ideasThe weekend is here, perhaps the last before holiday-related craziness sets in. Why not take advantage of the lull before the storm to tackle some web radio and online music DIY projects?

For example, if you're thinking about uploading your music to Google Music, Lifehacker has some tips to consider before getting started (here). The first step is to whip your music collection into shape, which may be a weekend project in and of itself! (At least, it was for your humble correspondent.)

If your digital music collection needs a complete overhaul -- like re-ripping all your CDs -- Computer Audiophile can help. They have a whole guide on how to rip CDs the right way right here.

While your music is (slowly, oh so slowly) uploading to Google Music, try your hand at building your own tabletop Wi-Fi radio. HowToGeek.com has a video guide right here. If that sounds a bit too daunting, you could "reanimate a classy vintage corpse" -- that is, an old radio -- by stuffing a modern Wi-Fi web radio inside it. Gizmodo has more on that project here.

To wire up your whole home with networked music and Internet radio, RAIN recommends building your own VortexBox (find guides here). But if that's a bit too pricey (or confusing), just use Apple's AirPlay instead! Lifehacker has tips on how to use the wireless system with non-Apple devices here.

Finally, to ease out of the weekend and prep for your Monday morning commute, why not install an iPad into your car dashboard to stream web radio apps? No sweat, right? StangNet.com has a video guide for installing an iPad in a Ford Mustang here.

Did we miss a cool DIY web radio project? Planning on tackling any of these ideas this weekend? Let us and fellow RAIN readers know in the comments!

Paul Maloney
November 18, 2011 - 12:00pm

Four music industry lobby groups sent a letter to the Congressional debt-reduction "supercommittee" yesterday, encouraging lawmakers to let the FCC auction television broacast spectrum wireless operators. The American Federation of Musicians, the Recording Academy, SoundExchange and the Music Managers Forum say the auctions could raise billions of dollars in revenue for deficit reduction, as well free up spectrum for wireless broadband devices. Broadcasters that own television licenses want to choose whether they relinquish this spectrum, and want to be fully compensated for doing so.SoundExchange

But why are music industry interests speaking up regarding television spectrum? The Hill's "Hillicon Valley" blog put it simply: "Broadcasters and the music industry have a long-running feud over whether artists should receive royalties when radio stations play their songs."

The music industry groups say they are interested to "hasten the migration of music fans to cutting edge (wireless broadband) platforms that compensate artists," by paying royalties they say are a "basic economic and civil right for musicians."

The groups wrote, "It would seem to us that the NAB is not entitled to spectrum owned by the public, or costs associated with relinquishing it, and the federal government reclaiming this spectrum for purposes of deficit reduction is the kind of shared sacrifice that is required in these difficult times."

The NAB doesn't buy it. Spokesman Dennis Wharton fired back, "By coupling a TV spectrum issue with an unrelated performance tax on radio stations, the music industry sets the standard for grasping at straws. This is a Hail Mary pass that deserves to fall incomplete."NAB

Inside Radio believes the letter is part of a new music industry "tactic: find ways to make it difficult for broadcasters to do business such as by opposing license renewals.  The request to the Super Committee fits into that strategy, and similar moves are in the works, according to insiders who say bad feelings among many in the music community linger."

What's more, Inside Radio sees implications for online radio too. "As online streaming royalties grow bigger with each passing year, (NAB president Gordon) Smith believes webcast rates are likely to become intertwined with an on-air royalty issue," they write today. "Broadcasters’ current streaming royalty agreement with SoundExchange expires in 2015 yet Smith thinks there could be a way to resolve both the on-air and digital royalty issues sooner than that, potentially with something similar to a universal settlement. But with some broadcasters more digitally invested than others, radio’s internal royalty debate may once again break down between large and small market operators. Smith said he was optimistic that won’t happen, suggesting any new proposal would include an even more 'progressive system' where size dictates costs."

Read more from The Hill here. Subscribe to Inside Radio here.
Paul Maloney
November 18, 2011 - 12:00pm

Pandora today introduced a new targeted ad product designed to grab a share of the sweet, sweet ad spending from political candidates and special interest groups for the upcoming 2012 elections. Pandora will use ZIP Code data (which listeners supply when they register) to target ads to defined geographic areas (e.g. state, county, or congressional districts) which make sense for political messages. This new targeting for political ads is in addition to previously available targeting data Pandora already gives advertisers, like listeners' age, gender and ZIP Code.Pandora

It's likely that political ads will "be one of the few bright spots next year in ad spending," today's Wall Street Journal reports (here). The paper cites a Kantar Media forecast that political ad spending could hit $4 billion in 2012, in fact. Yet, that same organization sees only 5% of that going to online ads.

Pandora lately has been making a case that it should be getting a share of advertising revenue that reflects its share of the radio listening audience.

"Pandora reported total revenue of $203 million in the 12 months ending July 31, with advertising revenue comprising $176 million of the total. But the company, which says it owns nearly 4% radio market share in the U.S., thinks it deserves a bigger piece of the $17 billion spent last year on radio advertising," wrote AdAge here. CEO Joe Kennedy said as much yesterday at the Billboard Future Sound Conference yesterday (see more in Business Insider here).