RAIN 11/7: Karmazin, Huppe speak out about SiriusXM direct licensing

Michael Schmitt
November 7, 2011 - 12:00pm

Mel Karmazin, CEO of SiriusXMIn late October, artist unions and SoundExchange issued official statements protesting SiriusXM's attempts to directly license music from copyright holders, thus circumventing SoundExchange (RAIN coverage here). Reports of SiriusXM's direct licensing aims first surfaced in August (here).

“We think rights holders should benefit from a more competitive and open environment created by inviting individual labels to set their own value on their content rather than having to follow the industry collective,” SiriusXM CEO Mel Karmazin (pictured right) now tells the New York Times.

The NYT also spoke with SoundExchange president Michael J. Huppe, who said that "at the end of the day, what [SiriusXM is] trying to do is get content for less money." He said SoundExchange would continue to push in the opposite direction, asking for higher royalties from the satellite radio broadcaster. "We believe that content is already undervalued."

Comments the NYT: "Sirius’s move was only the latest example of a gradual shift in the financial infrastructure of music. Many companies, from major labels to providers of background music, have been trying to reduce costs and gain control by circumventing the large organizations that have historically processed licenses and royalties."

You can find the full New York Times article here.

Paul Maloney
November 7, 2011 - 12:00pm

Detroit radio legend Dick Purtan has joined the ranks of former broadcast stalwarts maintaining a voice through podcasting.

Dick PurtanRadio Ink writes that Purtan, who worked at various Detroit outlets from 1965 until his retirement from Classic Hits WOMC-FM last year, is now offering a weekly podcast from his website, DickPurtan.com. He told Radio Ink, "The whole website/podcast thing seemed like a logical way to stay connected with the listeners, keep the old grey matter working, and finally get to stay up past 9pm. It seemed like a good fit."

(Happily) departing from the tight-schedule and grind of daily four-hour broadcast radio show, Purtan and his staff of "Purtan’s People" produce a weekly podcast while sitting around his dining room table. Purtan even runs his own board!

"On the plus side, it gives freedom not only to those of us doing it, but now people can choose when and where to listen," he said. "They're not limited to the time they have driving to work... they can listen while they're working out or - if it's not one of our particularly funny ones - they can always use it to help them fall asleep."

Read Radio Ink's article here.

Paul Maloney
November 7, 2011 - 12:00pm

Pandora founder Tim Westergren, speaking to advertising executives last week, stressed the need for a "universal metric" to measure listening to both traditional, broadcast radio and Internet radio services like his own.

"It's really absurd there's not an apples-to-apples" comparison, he told a group of advertising professionals at agency Horizon Media. 

Pandora reported $176 million in ad revenues for its fiscal year ending July 31. Advertisers spent $17 billion on AM/FM radio advertising last year; and as Pandora says it now owns 4% of radio listening in the U.S., the webcaster obviously feels a bigger slice of that pie. 

In fact, this sounds like exactly what audience metrics firm Arbitron is working towards now. Over the past few months, Arbitron has revealed some of its plans for an integrated over-the-air and Internet radio measurement system (in RAIN here and also here). Towards these efforts, the company acquired Finnish mobile audience measurement and analytics firm Zokem Oy (see RAIN here) in July, then partnered with Belgian ad tech firm AdSwizz last month (in RAIN here). Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer explained AdSwizz will, in fact, convert server-based streaming radio data (such as from webcasters) into traditional broadcast radio metrics like Average Quarter Hour, Time Spent Listening, and Cumulative Audience.

Without a platform-agnostic metric, Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble explained Pandora sales efforts involve "doing manual calculations to turn unique visitors and time spent into traditional-radio metrics such as average quarterly hour," reports. Read more here.

Michael Schmitt
November 7, 2011 - 12:00pm

Nook TabletTo compete with Amazon's recently-announced Kindle Fire tablet, Barnes & Noble today unveiled the Nook Tablet. The device features a 7" color touchscreen plus apps from Pandora, MOG, Rhapsody, Grooveshark, Netflix and Hulu. It arrives next week for $250.

Engadget has more coverage here and here.

(Pandora is actually no stranger to Nooks. It's offered on the Nook Color and can be hacked onto the original black-and-white Nook eReader.)