RAIN 9/28: RAIN Summit Europe is one week away

Paul Maloney
September 28, 2012 - 1:15pm

France-based Radionomy provides users a platform to create their own online radio stations (and listen to others' stations) using its 80,000 song library (or their own songs), along with social networking functions and tools to promote and monetize their programming (those in the U.S. are probably familiar with the concept from companies like Live365 and Loudcaster).

Founded in 2008 in Belgium, Radionomy (prior coverage here) attracts 13 million monthly unique users streaming 40 million aggregate listening hours per month to their more than 6,000 user-created radio stations. Last week at our RAIN Summit Dallas conference Radionomy announced its entrance into the U.S. market.

Next week Radionomy CEO Alexandre Saboundjian (left) will join us for at RAIN Summit Europe, October 5th in Berlin. Saboundjian will speak on the panel "Monetizing Digital Audio" alongside RMS Head of Sales & Digital Media Frank Nolte. RMS is a leading audio marketing company in the German (online and terrestrial) radio ad market. Together with RMS Austria, which serves 42 Austrian outlets, RMS is the largest audio marketing company in Europe.

The panel also features and Liquid Compass CEO Zach Lewis, whose company offers stream-hosting services for desktop and mobile webcasting, and develops customizable media players and radio streaming applications.

Representatives of companies like Deezer and NRJ International will also take part in the "Monetizing Digital Audio" discussion (more here). Christian Jonas Lea, who is a media and marketing pro in Germany, having launched the new Dig This Media, and blogs at cjlea.com, will moderate.

RAIN Summit Europe will be our very first RAIN Summit event outside North America, and will offer a learning and networking opportunity unlike any of our previous gatherings.

Our keynote speaker represents perhaps the most significant online music concern to come out of Europe, Spotify. Spotify's European GM and VP of Ad Sales Jonathan Forster's (left) company now boasts 15 million active users worldwide, 4 million of whom pay for the service every month. Besides its on-demand streaming product, Spotify Radio is a personalized radio stream listeners create based on artists, songs, or genres, which can be further influenced through "thumbs up/thumbs down" song ratings.

Please take a look at our full roster of industry experts and agenda of panels, all of the most up-to-date information, and registration links on the RAIN Summit Europe page. And please check out where we'll hold the Summit: the very stylish nhow "Berlin" - The Music & Lifestyle Hotel Berlin.

Paul Maloney
September 28, 2012 - 1:15pm

Clear Channel has now struck a second deal with a record label that trades an on-air royalty for a discount when the label's music is streamed. Clear Channel will pay Glassnote Entertainment a percentage-of-revenue royalty when the broadcaster plays Glassnote recordings on the air or online. 

U.S. broadcasters are not obligated to pay copyright owners to perform sound recordings on AM and FM, but are required to pay when those same recordings are streamed online.

The press release clearly stressed the "market-based" nature of the deal, crafted to "help drive faster growth of digital radio" and create "a sustainable business model for the digital music industry."

Earlier this year, Clear Channel forged a similar arrangement with Big Machine Records. Broadcast group Entercom last week also agreed with Big Machine on such a deal.

With such deals, Clear Channel is likely positioning itself for a future in which (1) more and more of its audience migrates from its broadcast signals to online listening; and (2) broadcast radio's on-air sound recording royalty exemption eventually ends. By taking on the on-air royalty obligation now (under its own terms, and not those of the U.S. Copyright Office), it secures for itself an online royalty structure more tenable than the current CRB-determined statutory deal.

That statutory royalty is exactly the subject of the (recently-renewed) "fairness" debate in digital radio, including the recently-introduced Internet Radio Fairness Act of 2012. To stream copyright sound recordings online, operators pay royalties that amount to a far higher percentage of their revenues than the use of the same music delivered via satellite radio or cable television. Critics say the royalties are so high as to stifle the growth and development of Internet radio, and eventually deny copyright owners and performers royalties they'd earn from a flourishing industry. The Internet Radio Fairness Act is intended to bring Internet radio royalties more in line with those of other forms of digital radio, and has gained the endorsement of the National Association of Broadcasters.  

Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman was clear that he thinks both his company and the music industry benefit from more affordable streaming rates. "It’s no surprise to us that Glassnote quickly saw this was a great opportunity to help move the digital radio industry towards a more sustainable future. Not only will this agreement expand his label and artists’ participation in all of Clear Channel’s radio revenues; it also creates a vibrant new digital radio business model that we believe will provide more money for the artists and the labels and more digital choices for the consumer."

Glassnote artists include Mumford & Sons (pictured), Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club, GIVERS, Childish Gambino, and more.

Paul Maloney
September 28, 2012 - 1:15pm

The New York Post reported today Apple's inability to reach an agreement with music publisher Sony/ATV made it impossible to coincide the launch of its streaming music service with the release of the iPhone 5.

Sony/ATV is the world's largest music publisher (which means we're talking about song compositions, not sound recordings). A source told The Post Sony/ATV wanted a higher per-song fee to use its compositions than Apple was willing to pay.

What's more, the publishing giant reportedly plans to pull out of ASCAP and BMI after the first of the year. These two performance rights organizations negotiate rights with services that use song compositions for all their members. If Sony/ATV backs out of those groups, as EMI, which Sony/ATV is acquiring (don't confuse this deal with Universal's acquisition of the EMI Recording Group -- we're still talking music publishers here!) announced it would do, securing rights to use this music will become more complicated for webcasters.

"The Sony/ATV snafu means music streaming is more likely to appear as an iPhone update in future months," The Post's sources said.

Earlier this month it was reported that Apple was in negotiations with record labels to introduce streaming music "Pandora-competitor" service. 

According to CNet, "(music) publishers don't like Pandora's model... and don't want to see Apple launch a similar service."

Read The New York Post here; CNet here.

Paul Maloney
September 28, 2012 - 1:15pm

Entrepreneur Jeff Yasuda (he created the "Twitter for music" Blip.fm) has beta-launched Fuzz, the newest online radio service that enables users to create channels using their own music (see Live365, Turntable.fm, Radionomy).

Fuzz's marketing angle is that the stations are "user-curated, robot-free online listening experiences" created solely by human music fans, and not by cold, heartless computer algorithms. The positioning statement (which appears just below its logo on the front page) reads "Fuzz is great radio made by real people."

Setting his business apart from similar services, Yasuda says Fuzz won't be ad-supported. CNet wrote "Yasuda knows that's a losing path, that the numbers don't work." Rather, he plans to fund the business with premium subscription services, and then move into mobile and the app business. "Those are the breakout opportunities," he told CNet. They write, "He wants to take what he learns on Fuzz, create apps -- maybe games, maybe something different -- that he markets to his users."

Try Fuzz here; read CNet's article here.