RAIN 6/29: To review, who's partnered with who(m)?

Paul Maloney
June 29, 2012 - 11:45am

Several new arrangements between the various players were announced in the last seven days, and many of those involved are dancing with multiple partners... so here's our stab at a "clear as mud" review:

TuneIn is a web and mobile "tuning service" which provides users (and device makers) a "one-stop" destination to find thousands of terrestrial and online streams and on-demand audio content. Last week, TuneIn announced (RAIN's coverage here) partnerships with 20 major broadcasting companies, including Fox News Radio, Bloomberg Radio, Public Radio Exchange and Monocle 24. These new partnerships alone added 600 new streams to the TuneIn directory. But they weren't finished. This week the company not only announced a new partnership (in RAIN here) to make available content from Carolla Digital (home to "The Adam Carolla Show," "This Week with Larry Miller," "Penn's Sunday School with Penn Jillette," and more) -- but also revealed (here) the addition of the local station streams from major U.S. radio groups Entercom, Cox, and Emmis (the three groups combined own more than 200 stations).

Interestingly, two of those groups -- Cox and Emmis -- had themselves just announced a similar deal with Clear Channel to make their streams available on CC's iHeartRadio platform as well (coverage here).

Clear Channel also announced a major partnership this week with Yahoo!, making them the "preferred radio" partner of the web giant. In our coverage, here, we had suggested that this new arrangement would elbow out CBS Radio, which had been Yahoo!'s radio partner... but coverage in the L.A. Times (here) and Taylor on Radio-Info (here) reports CBS isn't yet out of the picture. In other words, Yahoo! users who want local radio streams will be directed to Clear Channel (or other iHeartRadio partner) streams... unless they're shown CBS streams. Hmmm.

At least the personalized-radio situation is clearer. Now that Yahoo! and iHeart Radio are BFFs, Yahoo! users who want customized Internet radio will now be steered towards the iHeartRadio's "Custom Stations" feature. That is, unless they end up listening to personalized radio from Yahoo!'s other new partner, Spotify (which recently made free personalizable net radio the "central feature" of its mobile apps (here) -- and with whom Yahoo! also announced a partnership, here), for whom Yahoo! dumped Spotify-competitor Rhapsody

Enough? Or would you like to know that Slacker and ABC Radio are partnering to produce two gender-aimed lifestyle Internet radio talk stations; and that SiriusXM has announced a deal to make its content available via Google TV (coverage for both stories here)?

Michael Schmitt
June 29, 2012 - 11:45am

Computer musicComputer algorithms and automated services are currently "the dominant approach" for web radio music recommendation and discovery services, writes ReadWriteWeb. To some extent, Pandora, Last.fm and The Echo Nest (along with the services it powers, like iHeartRadio) all take this approach.

"But they're by no means perfect," argues ReadWriteWeb. "We still need human brains to do some of the listening and interpretation that goes into music recommendations. That's why Pandora's algorithm works so well and why Songza has such promise. Both services, to varying degrees, rely on human intervention to help curate and cross-reference songs."

The article points to Spotify's app selections as a good example: it offers automated services from Last.fm and MoodAgent, as well as curated apps from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and others.

"Algorithms and APIs can do amazing things. But at the end of the day, determining what music - as well as art, movies, books and other media - people will like still requires human beings with real ears connected to real brains. The future of music discovery will rely on both."

You can find ReadWriteWeb's article here.

Michael Schmitt
June 29, 2012 - 11:45am

Mobile devicesNew studies from Localytics and Nielsen show that users are spending more time with mobile apps, but the fact remains that getting users to download an app "is only half the battle."

Nielsen found that U.S. Android and iOS app users spent 101 billion minutes per month with apps in March -- up more than 100% year-over-year. Consumers spent 58% of that time using the top 50 most popular apps. That's apparently down from 74% last year, "indicating there are opportunities for new apps to capture consumers' attention," note eMarketer.

Meanwhile, a study from Localytics found that more than 25% of mobile consumers use an app just once after downloading it. On the other hand, 31% of users opened an up at least 11 times or more over a nine-month peroid, and that's up from 26% last year. Interestingly, the study discovered iPhone/iPad users "are about twice as loyal to their apps than Android users," writes the Wall Street Journal.

Apps from news outlets apparently have the highest user retention rates, while lifestyle apps have the worst rates. You can find more coverage from the Wall Street Journal here and eMarketer here.

Michael Schmitt
June 29, 2012 - 11:45am

SmartphonesThe Pew Internet and American Life Project recently found that a whopping 88% of U.S. adults own a cellphone. That's up 24% from 2009.

Of that group, 55% use their mobile devices to browse the web. And of that 55%, nearly a third say they use their cellphone to access the Internet more than any other device. That comes out to around 17% of U.S. adult cellphone owners.

"The study details the fact that mobile web design is not a backwater at all, but is instead a mainstream avenue that millions use to access the content that is most important to them," writes TheNextWeb (here).

"The Internet is mobile, and only becoming more so. Be ready."