RAIN wraps up the biggest stories of 2011

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

New Year's Eve in ChicagoWhile RAIN takes a short hiatus, we thought we'd review the biggest Internet radio stories of 2011.

It was a busy year! Pandora went public, Clear Channel launched a customizable version of iHeartRadio, Spotify and other on-demand services made big gains in the U.S. and Internet radio hit the road.

We hope you enjoy our round-up of stories, listed below. New issues of RAIN will return on Tuesday, January 3, 2012.

From all of us at RAIN, we wish you happy holidays! We'll see you in 2012!

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Bubba the Love Sponge on RadioioTodd Clem, better-known as Bubba the Love Sponge, has departed from Sirius XM to join Internet radio network Radioio. He’ll host a live web radio program from 6am to 10am (Eastern) Monday through Friday.

At other times, Radioio will stream the “best of” Bubba. Starting January 10, Radioio will also offer music side-channels programmed by Bubba and his fellow personalities... (read more here)

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Whew! It’s been a whirlwind couple of weeks for in-car Internet radio. Nearly every major car maker (and a slew of third-party retailers) has introduced some sort of dashboard Net radio system. And frankly, it’s tough to keep track of it all. That’s why today RAIN presents a round-up of in-car Internet radio... (read more here)

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Bob PittmanClear Channel will “create its own version of Pandora,” the company’s new chairman of media and entertainment platforms Bob Pittman told Inside Radio. In fact, new features allowing listeners to personalize station streams are already “on the drawing board,” reports the news source... (read more here)

Then in March, Clear Channel acquired music subscription service Thumbplay (read more here).

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Pandora goes publicPandora is officially going public. The company late today filed for a $100 million initial public offering (IPO)... (read more here)

The move makes the service — now apparently adding a new registered user “every second” — “unique among Internet-music companies…none has gone public since Napster went bankrupt in 2002,” writes Bloomberg.

The move also opens up once-private financial information about the company. Today RAIN dives into Pandora’s SEC filing to uncover new information about the Internet radio titan... (read more here)

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

This year’s RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas, which took place Monday, April 11, was most definitely our biggest and best gathering yet. The content presented and discussed — which we’ll report on over the coming days — was thought-provoking, educational and entertaining. To cap it all off, the evening’s RAIN Reader Cocktail Party (poolside at the Renaissance Hotel, pictured right) was especially memorable. 

RAIN Summit West 2011

 

 

 

 

You can find coverage of RAIN Summit West 2011 here, and at the links below:

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Spotify Artist RadioPopular on-demand music subscription service Spotify launched in the U.S. last week (more here) but one feature available to European users -- Artist Radio -- is missing due to licensing constraints.

Much like Pandora, Spotify’s Artist Radio creates a radio-like playlist of music similar to a specified artist. As Spotify is on-demand, listeners have more control over the generated playlists (for example, going back to previous tracks or skipping ahead to get to a specific song).

(Read more here).

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Satellite radio broadcaster Sirius XM will roll-out Pandora-like personalization features in early 2012 as part of their new Android-powered 2.0 service.

The service — what CNet calls Sirius XM’s “answer to Internet radio products” — will also include on-demand functionality, DVR-like controls and more programming. Details about the personalization features have not yet been released.

(Read more here).

Michael Schmitt
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Sirius XM is attempting to reduce the fees it pays for the use of copyright sound recordings by forging deals directly with record labels, and thus bypassing the statutory terms and SoundExchange.

(Read more here).

Artist unions and SoundExchange then protested the move in October. They called the effort "blatantly anti-artist." Read more here.

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Clear Channel launched a Beta version of the new iHeartRadio, which includes the much-anticipated “Pandora-like” Custom Radio service. Simply put, the new iHeartRadio feels like the best effort from a broadcaster yet to take on customizable pureplay webcasters. The service feels well-designed, easy-to-use and cohesive — especially when compared to CBS Radio’s Radio.com, which struggles to weld together separate services. (read more here)

Clear Channel hosted the iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas to promote their new custom radio service. The festival took place Friday and Saturday and included performances from Lady Gaga, Kelly Clarkson, Black Eyed Peas, Bruno Mars, Usher, Jennifer Lopez and more. (read more here)

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

RAIN Summit ChicagoRAIN held its first RAIN Summit event in our hometown of Chicago (here). One of the highlights was undoubtedly Pandora founder Tim Westergren's riveting keynote address (coverage here), in which he argued that there is "little doubt that the future of radio is Internet radio...[and] the music industry should be doing everything it can to encourage this shift."

You can see video of Westergren's speech here; watch video of RAIN publisher and AccuRadio founder Kurt Hanson's Summit address here; and video of the day's panels and presentations here.

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Bob Pittman has been named CEO of CC Media Holdings -- Clear Channel's parent company -- effective immediately. The company told RAIN the appointment is an endorsement of Pittman's digital initiatives, including building out web radio platform iHeartRadio. (read more here)

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Yesterday Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away. It's difficult to overstate Jobs' impact on the world -- from PCs to film to digital music and beyond. Today RAIN looks back at just some of the ways Jobs impacted Internet radio... (We came up with seven major products or services, though there were doubtless others. Read more here.)

 

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

AOL today relaunched AOL Radio, now powered by personalizable pureplay webcaster Slacker. AOL Radio announced in late June it would migrate away from CBS Radio and partner with Slacker (RAIN coverage here).

The new AOL Radio includes about half the audio advertising it previously had, now playing about 3 minutes of advertising per hour. The cut was announced by AOL Radio General Manager Lisa Namerow at RAIN Summit Chicago. (read more here)

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Clear Channel continued to add programming from third-party sources (some might say "competitors") to to iHeartRadio, Clear Channel's platform for Internet radio, in December (here) when it brought in Cumulus' 570 radio station streams. This follows news from October when Clear Channel made available streams from EMF's K-Love and Air1 networks (here) and public radio WNYC/New York (here) on iHeartRadio.

 

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

In a move publications across the web are describing as "taking on Pandora," Spotify today announced it will soon re-launch its revamped customizable Internet radio service.

The refreshed radio service lives as an "app" inside Spotify's desktop program (which is primarily focused on listening to music on-demand). It offers users the ability to create radio streams out of artists, songs or genres. Users will be able to skip an unlimited number of tracks and bookmark songs for later on-demand listening. The service even provides users with a long list of radio station suggestions based on their listening history (read more here).

The new service is enabled by Spotify's new app platform (here) that allows partners like Rolling Stone and Last.fm to steer listeners towards new music discoveries in the same way traditional radio has for years.

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Hubbard Radio's WTOP (Washington D.C., 103.5 FM) has restructuerd and expanded its workforce to "unify digital and broadcast staff." The station says its aiming to "redefine the news workflow. Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin. It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile." (read more here)

Paul Maloney
December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Katz360, the Clear Channel-owned online ad sales network, has dropped Pandora as a client. Katz360 will no longer sell ads for the webcaster after two years of doing so (read more here). 

This hubbub has its roots in some broadcasters' outspoken criticism of Pandora as "not real radio," etc. The flames were fanned beginning in July (here) when Pandora and Edison Research began issuing audience measurements in top local U.S. markets that were naturally compared to broadcast radio numbers (see also here and most recently here). Pandora founder Tim Westergren himself called for a "universal metric" to measure listening across various platforms (here), a bill which Arbitron's announced Total Audience Measurement would seem to fit. But broadcasters howled (here) that such a product would allow Pandora and Internet radio to "siphon off radio ad dollars," and threatened to withhold their own server data. Arbitron, now forced by its clients to play both sides, issued a statement (here) critical of Edison's/Pandora's reports.

Heading into 2012, this will certainly be a huge story to follow for Internet radio, as well as broadcast.