RAIN wraps up the biggest stories of 2012

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

As we do at the close of every year, we'll finish 2012 by reviewing the biggest stories in Internet radio of the past year. We'll begin with the most important developments and landmarks of January through March, then we'll cover the rest of the year over the next few days. (By all means, if you feel we've failed to recognize an important event in the world of Internet radio from 2012, please let us know by using the feedback form below. If you don't see the form, please click the purple headline above.)

We're looking forward to resuming daily coverage after the New Year, and a productive 2013. We'd like to wish you the best as well, and express our appreciation for your support. Whether you make news, sponsor RAIN or the RAIN Summit, contribute to our editorial, or simply read what we write and attend the RAIN Summit -- thank you. A huge part of the reward and satisfaction we feel in publishing RAIN is the opportunity it gives us to work and interact with you.

On behalf of publisher Kurt Hanson, have a safe and enjoyable holiday, and best wishes in the new year. - PM

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Online streams of stations in the Greater Media broadcast group will soon be available on Clear Channel's iHeartRadio platform.

Clear Channel announced today Greater Media’s 22 AM and FM radio stations in Boston, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Detroit and New Jersey will be available on the iHeartRadio platform beginning in April. iHeartRadio already offers more than 800 broadcast and online-only radio stations from 150 markets, plus iHeartRadio's custom stations feature. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Clear Channel Radio today announced its immediate name change to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, a move it says "better reflect(s) the evolution of its business... (and) clearly signals its successful expansion into new areas."

"Clear Channel Media and Entertainment represents our evolution as we prove our relationship with our listeners is so much more than just our transmitters and towers," Clear Channel Media and Entertainment CEO John Hogan said in the press release announcing the change. "We will continue to serve our increasingly diverse audiences and local communities... wherever they expect it, while supporting advertisers, strategic partners, music labels and artists with creative, multi-platform marketing opportunities..." [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Android and iOS devices are "impossible to ignore," says analystAndroid and iOS devices (iPads, iPhones) had a higher combined shipment volume than the entire PC industry in 2011, according to mobile analyst Horace Dediu in Asymco.

A total of 358 million Android and iOS units were shipped last year, Dediu found (using data from the smartphone industry, Apple and Gartner), compared to 336 million PC units (excluding Macs).

"The growth rate and the scale itself combine to make the entrants impossible to ignore," comments Dediu (here). "We cannot consider the iPad as a 'niche'...it has a higher trajectory than the iPhone which became a disruptive force in itself." [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

We were surprised to see this tweet from industry veteran and Cox Media Group SVP/Digital and Strategy Gregg Lindahl:

"Calling it a day on my career with Cox was announced today. Its been fun but dates w/Telluride, Aspen & Vail await, then #ontothenextone"

Lindahl confirmed to RAIN his resignation, which will be effective at the end of the month. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

CBC MusicCBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Monday launched an online music service featuring 40 Internet radio stations.

CBC Music -- a free service that appears to be open to all listeners, not just Canadian users -- also offers selections of on-demand music and content from CBC personalities. It's reportedly made possible through an "umbrella" deal with 1,000 music labels.

The service also includes streams of Radio 2 stations and Radio 3. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

iPhoneThere are now more smartphone owners in the U.S. than feature phone owners, according to a new study from the Pew Research Center. "Feature phones" are more basic than smartphones and usually don't support apps or other web-based features.

“Nearly every major demographic group — men and women, younger and middle-aged adults, urban and rural residents, the wealthy and the less well off — experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration," Pew noted. Boy Genius Report has more coverage here. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Music playlist service Songza today launched a new service designed to deliver musical experiences based on when you're listening and what you're doing. Songza's new Music Concierge automatically notes day and time.Songza Tell it you're about to go jogging, for example, and it draws from its library of expert-designed playlists of songs for a radio-like experience suited to exercise.

Evolver.fm's Eliot Van Buskirk reviewed the Music Concierge today. He wrote (here):

To be fair, no music recommendation system is ever going to be exactly perfect. Songza succeeds, to an extent, in its attempt to cut through the millions of songs out there that any of us can now listen to without paying a cent in seconds on Spotify, YouTube, or elsewhere. The admittedly-thin proof: I am still listening to the station it recommended. [Read  more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Billboard has created the "On-Demand Songs" chart, based on song plays on subscription online music services. Data from the chart is now included in Billboard's Hot 100.

The weekly chart will rank songs based on "every on-demand play request and plays from unlimited listener-controlled radio channels" available from MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker and Spotify (data from Zune and Sony Music Unlimited is planned to be included in the coming weeks). This includes streams as well as tethered downloads, as heard by paying subscribers and free users alike.

Billboards' Hot 100 will now include the streaming data from the new On-Demand Songs chart, plus non-interactive plays from Rhapsody and Slacker. (This is in addition to terrestrial radio plays, digital track sales, plays on video request service Akoo, and audio from on-demand streams from MySpace and Guvera, Yahoo! radio streams and Yahoo! on-demand video plays.) [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

On Monday when he clicks on the mic, West Coast shock-jock legend Tom Leykis will become the latest former on-air talent to begin producing a daily radio show on the Internet (e.g. Bubba the Love Sponge)

Leykis left the airwaves in February 2009, when KLSX-FM/Los Angeles owner CBS Radio changed the format to top-40. Leykis has a 5-year contract with CBS that continued to pay him (much like Chicago legend Steve Dahl), so he sat on the sidelines. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

U.S. satellite radio provider Sirius XM has filed a lawsuit against SoundExchange and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), accusing the record industry organziations of interfering with its efforts to directly license the sound recordings. The complaint accuses SoundExchange and A2IM of being in violation of federal antitrust law, and New York state law.

The satellite radio firm, like webcasters, pays the owners of recording copyrights (that is, record labels) royalties to play music. Sirius XM reportedly pays SoundExchange 8% of its gross revenues for all the music it uses on its over-the-air programming, which SoundExchange distributes to the labels. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

RAIN Summit West 2012 this past Sunday was a whirlwind of a day, packed to the brim with new research, fascinating discussions and more than a few thought-provoking ideas. It was without a doubt our biggest and best conference yet: hundreds of people attended to hear from more than 50 speakers, 2 keynote presentations, 2 research presentations, 3 POVs (Points of View) and 7 panels.

You can find RAIN Summit West's agenda and speaker list here. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Triton Digital said today it intends to present its local market audience measurements using the traditional broadcast radio Average Quarter-Hour metric (AQH).

Stations that subscribe to Triton's new "Local Reports" feature will now get Average Quarter-Hour Rating (AQH Rating) by market alongside Triton's proprietary Average Active Sessions number. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Raditaz new designSenzari and Raditaz, two customizable web radio services, are in the news today for generating new funding and debuting new features.

Miami-based Senzari has just closed a round of funding totaling $1 million. That adds to an earlier funding round of $2 million. Senzari is looking to take on Pandora with a larger music library (11 million songs), deep integration with Facebook and international availability. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

ESPN Radio iPhone appAs announced at RAIN Summit West 2012, ESPN Radio today updated its iOS mobile apps with new features, including the ability to rewind up to an hour of live programming on some ESPN stations.

The app also offers the ability to create custom sports radio stations, of a sort. Users can enter in up to 5 keywords (like "Chicago Cubs" or "Patrick Kane"), and the app will automatically offer up related shows, podcasts and other content.

Other updates include improved sound quality, faster connections and notifications about ESPN Radio programs. Users can also now cache stations for offline listening, as well as shows, podcasts and other on-demand content. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Sean Creamer"We can do it today," said Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer on Tuesday, referring to the company's online audience measurement service. But Arbitron "can't launch the service" yet.

"Like PPM, the service requires industry cooperation," writes Inside Radio, and Arbitron reportedly isn't getting it. "We have not reached a point where there is a critical mass of customers providing the digital log file data," Creamer explained at the JP Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston.

Some broadcasters are reportedly worried that Arbitron's coming measurement service will help Internet radio pureplay services "siphon off radio ad dollars" (more in RAIN here). Many even object to services like Pandora and Slacker being categorized as "radio." What's apparently happening is these operators, to avoid putting their online audiences up against the online-only powerhouses, are simply withholding their data from Arbitron... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

iHeartRadioClear Channel's iHeartRadio online radio platform now has 10 million registered users, the company announced today. The users were all registered in the eight months since iHeartRadio's Custom Radio service was launched in September 2011, said Clear Channel (RAIN coverage here). Users must register to use iHeartRadio's customizable radio service. 

Brian Lakamp, Clear Channel's President of Digital, attributes the growth to "the tremendous promotional power of our broadcast radio properties." Said Chairman and CEO John Hogan: "We take being a multiplatform company seriously..." [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Clear ChannelClear Channel, the largest owner of radio stations in the U.S., has agreed to pay Big Machine Label Group performance royalties for the use of sound recordings on AM/FM in exchange for more advantageous digital royalty rates. Essentially, Clear Channel will pay the label an undisclosed percentage of music advertising revenue for all broadcasts -- digital and terrestrial. That enables Clear Channel to avoid SoundExchange and the per-song, per-listener royalty rate.

Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman says that's the advantage of the deal. "I can't build a business space based on paying money for every time I play a song," he said, "but I can build a business by saying I will give a percentage of revenue that I bring in... What we are really trying to do is come up with a predictable model." Clear Channels hopes to make more direct deals with labels this year, but Pittman says they'll need to wait and see if the deal with Big Machine works out economically first. "Starting small is the way to do it because it will have less of an impact.".. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

House hearing on "The Future of Audio"Yesterday's "Future of Audio" House hearing, as expected, centered on the debate surrounding radio royalties. You can find our original coverage of the hearing and witnesses' testimonies here.

Common ground was found between broadcasters and webcasters in the "broken" state of digital royalties. "While we [webcasters and broadcasters] might disagree on some points," said Commonwealth Broadcasting CEO/president Steve Newberry, speaking on behalf of the NAB, "we’d both agree the Copyright Royalty Board set a rate structure that has suffocated the expansion of the industry.".. [Read more here.]nd Technology here.

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Saga CommunicationsSaga Communications has reportedly decided to stop streaming to markets outside the top 100. And for webcasts within the top 100, it will place geographic limits so only local listeners can tune in. However, the company has also reportedly added online streams for some news/talk stations.

Saga says it thinks the costs of a music streaming radio station are too high. Streaming expenses run to about $800,000 per month, said Saga, most of which goes to SoundExchange for music royalties. News/talk formats don't incur such high royalty costs. Additionally, streaming represents a "very small" percentage of Saga's overall listening.... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Boston's alternative rock station WFNX will change formats next month, following its sale to Clear Channel. But regional web portal Boston.com plans to keep the modern rock flag flying. It's announced plans to launch its own online-only alt-rock station, and it has enlisted former WFNX personalities and former WFNX PD Paul Driscoll.

In 2009 Boston's legendary heritage rocker WBCN left the on-air dial and soon reappeared as two HD Radio channels, and online simulcasts (here). Chicago alternative Q101 went online-only (RAIN coverage here) after the sale of its frequency; legendary Cincinnati station WOXY and Los Angeles rocker KNAC are well-known for doing the same... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

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)... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

RAIN reported (here) on the U.S. Appeals Court finding that the appointments of judges to the Copyright Royalty Board were unconstitutional. We have follow-up today from industry attorney David Oxenford:

This case involved the last webcasting case, which set royalties for the period 2011-2015. Every party had settled out of the case, but for the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS), which represents certain small webcasters associated with colleges and high schools. It challenged the constitutionality of the Copyright Royalty Board (taking up the argument that Live365 made earlier in the case, before itself settling out of the case -– note that I was counsel for Live365), that the Board’s structure was impermissible under the Appointments Clause of the U.S. Constitution (see RAIN's coverage here). The Court ruled that the CRB was in fact unconstitutional, but the ruling will likely have little practical effect...

[Read more here].

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Utah Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz has reportedly begun crafting a bill aimed at bringing Internet radio royalty rates more in line with those of other radio platforms. The bill's key feature is a change from the controversial "willing buyer/willing seller" standard in webcast royalty determinations to the more prevalent "801(b)" standard.

Chaffetz says his Internet Radio Fairness Act of 2012 is still in draft form and isn't yet ready to be introduced. But he plans to determine his next steps by the end of this month.

When Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) judges determine the royalty rate at which webcasters pay copyright owners and performers for the use of sound recordings, they do so based on the standard -- mandated by the DMCA -- of what a "willing buyer" and a "willing seller" would agree to in a hypothetical marketplace. The judges do not (and in fact, are instructed to not) consider the "real world" ramifications of their determination, only the perceived economic value of the right. The Internet radio royalty process is unique in this way, as royalties for satellite and cable radio are based on the Copyright Act's more well-known 801(b) standard. Royalty determinations for what labels pay music publishers and songwriters are also based on 801(b)... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Samsung Music HubSamsung has launched its Music Hub streaming music service in the U.S. The new service "wraps iTunes, Spotify and Pandora into one great package," explains Boy Genius Report's Zach Epstein.

He continues, "Like iTunes, Music Hub allows users to purchase tracks and download them or store them in the cloud for streaming [powered by 7digital]; like Spotify, Music Hub can stream an unlimited amount of on-demand music to smartphones or computers; and like Pandora, Samsung’s new service offers custom radio stations that provide endless streaming and help users discover new music."

Users will have to pay $10 per month to use Music Hub's streaming radio and on-demand features. "Samsung hopes consumers will find the whole package to be cheaper than subscribing to separate services like Pandora and Spotify," writes The Verge. Initially, the mobile service will only be available on Samsung's Galaxy S III Android smartphone devices... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

SiriusXM has launched a new streaming on-demand feature, offering around 200 programs for instant online listening. That includes recent talk, comedy, sports and music shows, "selections from [SiriusXM's] vast audio archive," and "exclusive, never-aired content."

Though the on-demand catalog doesn't include every show offered by SiriusXM, the company promises it will be updated regularly with new content... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

It turns out KLOS-FM/Los Angeles morning hosts Mark & Brian (Mark Thompson, left and Brian Phelps, right) have both left the airwaves, and both are launching podcasts. Thompson had long planned to retire Friday after nearly 25 years (it was the longest-running active morning show in L.A.), but in a surprise development, Phelps also announced his plan to immediately leave the airwaves... [Read more here.]

KLOS/Los Angeles will replace the long-running Mark & Brian show with L.A. veterans Heidi & Frank, beginning September 4th. Heidi Hamilton and Frank Kramer have worked in the market on Clear Channel KYSR and CBS Radio KLSX. After losing their show at Cumulus KABC in September 2010, the two launched “The Heidi and Frank Show” online, building a subscriber base of “well over 6,000” customers paying $5/month or $50/year for on-demand audio and video content, plus a 2-hour live show weekday mornings (see our coverage here), mostly through tenacious productivity and social media efforts... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Broadcast group Saga Communications has decided to no longer substitute "online only" content for the on-air ads on its stations' Internet streams. Now, everything that goes out over the air can also be heard online.

In June Saga announced it would shut down streams of stations outside the Top 100 markets, and place geographical limits on who can listen to the remaining streams (see RAIN here).

Ten years ago radio advertisers' agreement with AFTRA, the union that represents voice talent on radio commercials, forbid the online use of spots created for on-air radio without significantly costly added fees. This forced broadcasters to substitute other content on the stream when ads ran on-air. Broadcasters use various companies' technologies to "insert" other ads, public service announcements, music beds, or simply silence... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Rep. Jarrold NadlerA new draft bill from U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY; pictured) aims to raise AM/FM streaming royalty rates, in effect implementing an over-the-air performance royalty. It would also potentially raise royalty rates for satellite and cable radio to the same levels as those for Internet radio.

Nadler's bill, dubbed the Interim FIRST Act and currently in "discussion draft" form, would "put cable and satellite radio services on the same royalty-setting standard as Internet radio," reports The Hill. That would mean switching cable and sallelite from the 801(b) standard, to the "willing buyer/willing seller" model currently used to determine web radio royalty rates.

Additionally, the Interim FIRST Act would "make traditional radio stations pay a higher fee for live-streaming their broadcast online." Nadler intends for this extra free to "make up for broadcasters not paying a fee when they play artists' songs over the air," writes The Hill... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

TheBlazePundit Glenn Beck has partnered with Clear Channel to launch "The Blaze Radio Network," an online talk radio stream that will be the home of talk personality Jay Severin.

The channel will stream from Beck's The Blaze website, and via an iPhone/iPad app and the iHeartRadio app. In addition to Severin's show, the new channel will include a simulcast of "The Glenn Beck Radio Program," another show called "Pat & Stu" hosted by Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray, and audio simulcasts of shows by TheBlaze TV, Glenn Beck's media enterprise... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

"In a move that could shake up the growing field of Internet radio," writes The New York Times, "Apple plans to develop a service that would compete with Pandora Media by sending streams of music customized to users’ tastes," news broke late yesterday.

The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Such services create virtual 'stations' that play music similar to a song or artist of the user's choosing, either on Web browsers or smartphone apps. Like traditional radio, they are typically free for users, but incorporate advertisements."

Interestingly, Apple is reportedly negotiating with major labels regarding the service. Webcasters wanting to operate a non-interactive service don't need label agreements to stream -- as long as they adhere to DMCA rules (and pay royalties at the established rates), there's a statutory license available to them... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

So, you're a local radio broadcaster (or you head a group), and your online efforts over the past 10 years haven't done much of anything postive for your bottom line. Specifically, you feel the process of replacing your advertisers' on-air content in your streams with online-only material simply costs too much, sounds horrible, and doesn't generate the revenue to make it worth the bother.

Think you'll abandon "ad-insertion" and simply stream a pure simulcast of your on-air signal? Or perhaps shut down the stream altogether? Certainly you want to carefully consider such a move, and gather as much information and opinion as feasible to advise your decision, right?.. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

More than 250 attendees, sponsors, and panelists joined us yesterday in the beautiful Wedgwood Room of the Hilton Anatole for RAIN Summit Dallas, the 2012 edition of our annual fall event (timed to immediately precede the RAB NAB Radio Show). 

The day's highlights included the keynote address from Clear Channel President of National Sales, Marketing, and Partnerships Tim Castelli. Tim focused on the transformation of his company from a collection of locally-centered radio groups to the nation's largest media company with a 360-degree approach focused on content.  

We also presented the 2012 RAIN Internet Radio Awards... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Kurt HansonESPN Audio and Pandora were named dual winners of the "Best Overal Online Radio Service" in the 2012 RAIN Internet Radio Awards, announced today in Dallas. Both services received perfect scores across the segment of our judges panel that reviewed them. It was Pandora's second consecutive "Best Overall" award, and one of two on the day for ESPN (ESPNRadio.com was named "Best Streaming Broadcast Station"). The "Best Overall Digital Strategy" Award went to Clear Channel's digital service iHeartRadio (accepted by Clear Channel Media + Entertainment and SVP of iHeartRadio Network Owen Grover, who spoke at the Summit). And congratulations to Dallas-based webcaster RoothogRadio.com for being named the 2012 "Best Single-Stream Webcaster." [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Congressmen Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Jared Polis (D-CO) this morning introduced to the House of Representatives a bill they hope will create a more level playing field for Internet radio concerning sound recording royalties. An accompanying bill has been introduced to the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

The Internet Radio Fairness Act would change the legal standard by which judges determine the statutory rate for streaming radio. The royalty rates for most other, related uses of copyright sound recordings use the standards set in section 801(b) of the Copyright Act. The 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act made an exception for Internet radio, requiring rates to be set to what the judges felt a hypothetical "willing buyer and willing seller" would agree. The bills would bring Internet radio in line with media like cable- and satellite radio, requiring rates to be set along 801(b) guidelines... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Our first European Summit event was today in Berlin. The keynote address was from Jonathan Forster, General Manager Europe & VP Ad Sales for Spotify. Jonathan is responsible for the overall development of Spotify's European business and managing Spotify's workforce across the region.

In the first half of today's event, Prof. Klaus Goldhammer of Goldmedia Strategy Consulting presented the findings of his company's study on online radio listening in Germany, "Web Radio Monitor 2012." RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson gave his "State of the Industry" presentation... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

The BBC today has launched iPlayer Radio, its dedicated radio streaming service that allows users to listen to 57 BBC radio stations and archived music offerings, live or on-demand. The service is available via either browser-based "web apps" or a new iPhone/iPad app.

"The move to improve the radio experience is long overdue and points to how the BBC may have slightly lost out on capitalizing on a growing audience for digital radio consumption," writes TechCrunch. "It says that year-on-year, monthly iPlayer requests for radio have increased 56% to 2.8m on mobile, and 300% to 1.2m on tablet up to now."

The BBC has a similar service for their television content, launched in 2007, called iPlayer TV. It gives users online access to previously-aired BBC video... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Clear Channel's online radio platform, iHeartRadio, will launch in Australia and New Zealand, the broadcaster announced today. The Australian Radio Network (ARN -- which is a joint venture between APN News & Media and Clear Channel International) will launch the service -- and add its own stations to the iHeartRadio range of listening options. The service will launch in Australia and New Zealand next year... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Billboard is now factoring streaming data and digital download sales into its rankings for major music charts. Billboard announced yesterday that rankings for five of its top current music charts will take into account plays on streaming services like Slacker, Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve, Rdio, and Xbox Music.

The 50-song charts will still include radio airplay data from Nielsen BDS. This is the same formula Billboard uses to create its "all-genre" Hot 100 songs ranking. The Billboard charts Hot Rock Songs, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Latin Songs, and Rap Songs will now factor plays on select streaming services, as well as digital download sales tracked by Nielsen SoundScan... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Microsoft will reportedly start rolling out the new Xbox Music service (see RAIN here) on the Xbox game console tomorrow, with full integration in the Windows 8 operating system going live on October 26th. Today the company has revealed more details about the service.

Xbox Music will sport a 30 million-plus song library, 18 million of those will be available in the U.S. (it’s launching in a total of 15 countries). There'll be an ad-supported, free-to-use version (unlimited for the first six months, then limited to 10 hours per month) as well as an unlimited $9.99/month ad-free service. Music will be available streamed on-demand (with the requisite playlisting capabilities) or as a purchased download. The service will integrate music a listener already owns (via a locker system) with the on-demand library. Reportedly, music videos are all part of the offering... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Radio and webcasting organizations like Clear Channel, Pandora, and Salem, along with other industry parties like the Consumer Electronics Association, have today announced the formation of the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition.

The group formed to lobby Congress to pass the IRFA, or Internet Radio Fairness Act of 2012, which (among other measures) would require the same legal standard be used for determining sound recording royalty rates for all non-interactive digital music services.

The IRFA is a bill in both houses of Congress, H.R.6480 and S.3609. The bills were introduced by Reps. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Jared Polis (D-CO), Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) in the House and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) in the Senate... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

When it comes to an issues as complex and contentious as copyright, artist compensation, and fair business, maybe real clarity was simply too tall an order. A panel with four intelligent and strongly-opinionated players whose top goal is to advocate their position (and not necessarily educate an audience) arguing for 40 minutes was doomed to (as they say) generate more heat than light.

Truly the Future of Music Coalition put together a great panel of speakers (as well as a truly terrific day of content). Unfortunately, as it goes with issues like this, it's arguable whether any audience member was able to come away with a cooler or clearer head.

Today's discussion at the Future of Music Summit event in Washington, D.C. focused on the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Arguing against the bill was musical artist and University of Georgia lecturer David Lowery, Assc. General Counsel of the AFM Patricia Polach, and SoundExchange General Counsel Colin Rushing (the latter two are pictured)... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

A group of 125 of the recording industry's biggest names are throwing their star power behind major record label efforts to oppose Net radio royalty reform.

"That's not fair and that's not how partners work together," reads the two-page "open letter" to leading webcaster Pandora in this weekend's Billboard magazine, signed by stars like Sheryl Crow, Pink Floyd, Billy Joel, and Katy Perry. The ad was placed by recording industry lobby musicFIRST and digital royalty group and industry advocate SoundExchange.

Pandora supports the "Internet Radio Fairness Act" -- proposed legislation that would require copyright judges who determine the royalties webcasters pay for the use copyright sound recordings to use the same legal standard they use when determining the same royalties of satellite and cable radio (we have lots of coverage here). Major recording labels have come out in staunch opposition to the bill... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

A House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee today held a hearing on issues involving the use of copyright sound recordings and the compensation paid to copyright owners and recording artists by various radio platforms. While the focus of the hearing was the recently-introduced Internet Radio Fairness Act -- which concerns royalties webcasters pay -- subcommittee members and some witnesses spent at least as much time talking about broadcast radio's long-time exemption from paying royalties on sound recordings.

(The written testimony of the six hearing witnesses (see today's early story) is available on the Judiciary Committee's website here (the witnesses' names link to pdf files). Follow-up questions from subcommittee members and discussion followed the witnesses' testimonials.).. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Martha's Vineyard's "eclectic-folk-alternative" WMVY is one of broadcast radio's webcasting pioneers. About the time the station was purchased by Joe Gallagher's Aritaur Communications in 1998, WMVY became one of the nation's first with an online stream. The station in fact developed on online brand of its own, "mvyradio." While on-air the station remained an ad-supported endeavor, the online mvyradio went commercial-free, supported by the non-profit Friends of mvyradio.

Yesterday WMVY/mvyradio announced it will sell its broadcast signal to Boston NPR-affiliate WBUR, ending nearly 30 years of broadcasting to the Islands, Cape Cod and south coast. Station staff and Friends of myvradio have launched a campaign to keep the station alive online (eventually returning to the airwaves as a non-commercial broadcaster). Their goal is to raise $600,000 by the end of January... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Pandora this week (here) reported very positive financial and usage growth for its fiscal quarter that ended October 31. They also released impressive usage numbers for the month of November (the Webcast Metrics report for October, here, was also typically positive for the industry's leading webcaster).

And when a company has a $1.32 billion market cap, and reports these numbers, record labels and performers howl that Pandora would dare try to pay them less.

The first problem, as tech venture capitalist and blogger Fred Wilson explains, is that lots of people don't understand (or ignore) what "valuation" or "market cap" means. (Wilson recently spoke to Billboard's Bill Werde, who asked about Spotify's and Pandora's market caps.).. [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Pandora has gone live Down Under.

The leading webcaster in the U.S. is "fully live" in Australia and New Zealand, with both the web-based player and fully-functioning mobile apps for Apple and Android devices. The launch marks Pandora's first official entry in nations outside the U.S. since the company limited listening to home nation in 2007. 

In July (coverage here), Pandora "beta launched" in the two countries, but streaming only to desktop listeners (no mobile) -- but with the aim of a fully-mobile service. Holden will be the first car company in Australia and New Zealand to offer full compatibility with Pandora via its new Holden MyLink infotainment system... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Hubbard Radio D.C. news outlet WTOP-FM has stopped inserting online-only ads into its web streaming, thereby duplicating its on-air programming online.

Senior Regional VP/Market Manager of Hubbard Radio's Washington, D.C. properties, Joel Oxley, explained the move as one to help Arbitron ratings: "Since WTOP is now a simulcast, those listeners can now be added to our Arbitron ratings. For WTOP even a slight move up in ratings can mean a significant rise in revenue." (quote from Inside Radio coverage)... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

CBS Interactive-owned music service Last.fm has announced it will shut down its online radio service in all but eight countries, "due to licensing restrictions."

While U.S., UK, and German listeners will still be able to use the Last.fm radio service free via the website, radio via the Last.fm desktop application in those nations will become solely a subscription-based service (ad-supported free radio via apps had been available to users in those countries). Mobile access to Last.fm radio (since April 2011) has been subscription-only, and will remain so.

Elsewhere in the world, Last.fm's radio service has been subscription-only since 2009. It will remain so for Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Brazil. But elsewhere, Last.fm online radio will entirely cease on January 15... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Sound recording royalties for satellite radio service SiriusXM will rise from 8% of gross revenue to 9% in 2013, and continue to grow 0.5% each year (to 11% in 2017). The Copyright Royalty Board also set the new statutory rates for cable television music services. Those rates will rise from 8% of gross revenue now to 8.5% for 2014 through 2017.

This royalty is only for copyright sound recordings (i.e. not compositions), and only for satellite transmissions or cable TV (not webcasting). Most webcasters (including satellite radio and cable television radio when they stream online) pay royalties on sound recordings at a "per-performance" rate. For even the most successful webcasters, this royalty can amount to more than 50% of a company's gross revenue... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Nielsen president of global media products Steve Hasker told Bloomberg that among Nielsen's intentions in acquiring Arbitron is to begin measuring online radio services like Pandora.

Bloomberg writes Nielsen "wants to offer its advertisers a unified system that measures audiences across multiple forms of media, making it easier for them to make ad-buying decisions -- whether on TV, radio or the Web."

StreetInsider credited the news for a Pandora stock price bump after speaking to analyst Rich Tullo. Tullo thinks the webcaster could likely profit from rising ad volume as large media buying agencies adopt this new Nielsen integrated media platform... [Read more here.]

Paul Maloney
December 26, 2012 - 8:00am

What began just six weeks ago as iHeartRadio's EDM (electronic dance music) online channel has now taken over a Boston FM frequency Evolution 101.7. When the EDM stream instantly became iHeartRadio's the most popular digital-only station on the service, Clear Channel execs took notice. At 6pm yesterday the company launched what it calls "the first real EDM station in the country," enlisting legendary British DJ Pete Tong as its voice.

The New York Times wrote today (here), "In what could be interpreted as a bit of symbolism about the tides of the music business, Evolution is taking over the former frequency of WFNX, for decades one of the country’s most influential alternative rock stations..." [Read more here.]