RAIN 3/30: Radio can use Facebook's newly-arrived Timeline design to its advantage

Michael Schmitt
March 30, 2012 - 12:15pm

Facebook's new Timeline profile pageThe day has arrived: Facebook today will convert all brand pages to the new Timeline design. That includes your station's Facebook page. Are you ready?

We already discussed what's different about the new Timeline profile pages and why you should be prepared (find that article here). But today we've collected a few other links today to help ease the transition -- and maybe even to spark some ideas on how to make your Facebook page better than ever!

Spotify, for example, is using its Timeline page in a unique way: it tracks the past 1,000 years of music. Naturally, each milestone (from "Organum Experiments" circa 1001 A.D. to Motown Records in 1959), is paired with a link to listen to the music in Spotify. Evolver.fm has more coverage here.

Radio consultant Scott Sands recently published a blog post explaining some of the key aspects of Facebook Timeline here. Additionally, consultant Stephanie Winans has some guidelines for designing that new, larger than life cover photo (including plenty of links to example profile pages) here.

And finally, if you're feeling wary about this whole change, tech entrepeneur Christian Taylor outlines three reasons why Facebook Timeline is good for businesses. "Not everyone is cheering over the recent switch to Facebook Timeline for businesses," he writes. "But the reality is, the new layout will present many great opportunities."

You can find Taylor's article in Mashable here.

Paul Maloney
March 30, 2012 - 12:15pm

Just a month after the launch of the Canadian Broadcast Company's brand new online music service, CBC Music (you can see our coverage of it here), the service is facing the pressures of cuts in its funding, calls from songwriters and publishers for higher royalties, and from artists questioning the CBC's dedication to Canadian art.

Canada's government has announced its new budget, which slashes CBC funding 10% -- dropping more than $100 million of its $1.16 billion -- which a Spinner.com article suggests "will no doubt have a tremendous effect" on CBC Music.

Meanwhile, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) is calling to revisit CBC's "flat-rate" royalties deal. Commercial radio and other online services in Canada pay royalties "per-song;" as it technically doesn't earn any profits, the CBC gets the flat rate. SOCAN argues the sheer volume of music CBC is offering for free makes a flat fee unrealistic. Some artists and competitors agree.

"As there is a new format [live-streaming] and the CBC is currently paying a nominal fee, it only seems fair that a new rate be negotiated," said singer-songwriter Jim Cuddy. "What concerns private industry is that in the face of massive cutbacks CBC sees fit to launch a new service that won’t generate meaningful revenue," said Rob Braide, of Stingray (more in RAIN here), a commercial webcaster.

Read more about SOCAN's calls for new royalty terms in the Globe and Mail here.

Finally, while Canada's "CanCon" law requires broadcasters to play at least 35% Canadian-produced content, this doesn't apply to online programming, including the CBC's new service. "Therefore (there is) no requirement to direct that percentage of overall royalties to the Canadian music industry... even though CBC Music uses tax dollars for its royalty payments," writes Spinner.com. While some maintain the mandate of the CBC itself ensures its relevance to Canada's people and music, some would like a content requirement formalized for online.

"We come at everything with a Canadian perspective and the focus is much more heavily Canadian than it would be on most surfaces," CBC spokesperson Steve Pratt explains.

But artist Paul Banwatt disagrees: "The whole point of CanCon is the recognition that we're a small population and we want to make sure that our voices, with distinctly Canadian things to say, aren't drowned out. Cultural expression crosses borders more easily now than ever, so you would think the need for protection is at its height."

Read more from Spinner.com here.

Michael Schmitt
March 30, 2012 - 12:15pm

DAR.fmIt's been over a year since enterpeneur Michael Roberston introduced DAR.fm to the world. The service aims to be like a TiVo for radio: it can record specific radio programs for on-demand listening later.

Since the service's debut in February 2011 (RAIN coverage here; VentureBeat coverage here), DAR.fm "has expanded the number of stations it offers listeners access to from 100 to 5,000," writes CNet. The service now offers more than 20,000 radio shows and can stream or download any of them to mobile devices, set-top boxes or PCs.

CNet can't help but ask, "can he [Robertson] do it without getting sued?"

Robertson's answer: "I think so. I've talked to some insiders and they get it. I can help them get their shows on new hardware: smartphones, PCs, and set-top boxes... DVRs have helped TVs. TV viewing has gone up 40% and radio's market share has fallen... they'll realize that it gives their listeners what they want, which is the ability to listen when and where they want."

You can find CNet's article here.

Michael Robertson will be a panelist at this year's RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas discussing "The Streaming Music Landscape." He'll be joined by Rhapsody's Brendan Benzing, Amazing Radio's Paul Campbell, TuneCore's Jamie Purpora and moderator Ted Cohen of TAG Strategic. You can find out more about the Summit here.