D Story

AdsWizz adds an exec, adds a client

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 12:40pm

Ad solutions tech provider AdsWizz announced yesterday its named longtime Skype exec Don Albert as its new North American President. Before Skype, Albert spent five years at eBay.

Additionally, AdsWizz has added pureplay webcaster Online Radio Solutions to its global client roster. Other AdsWizz webcast clients include Idobi, 1.FM, Digitally Imported, 181.fm, Fusion Radio, Futuradios (France), Hits & Fun (France), Rautemusik (Germany), and TraxxFM (Switzerland).

AdsWizz CEO Alexis van der Wyer spoke yesterday at RAIN Summit Orlando.

As rumored, Rhapsody downsizes, Irwin out as president

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 12:00pm

Last week when word hit that pioneering music service Rhapsody might shake up its leadership, RAIN editor Brad Hill asked (here): "Can a subscription-only service provide compelling value against free-listening platforms? For that matter, can any streaming-music business hold its own against content costs?"

The official word came yesterday (and was covered right away by The Verge's Greg Sandoval) that Rhapsody will "rebalance and restructure U.S. operations," has laid off 15% of its staff (30 workers), and will replace top managers like president Jon Irwin (who'll move into an advisory role) and CFO Adi Dehejia. Rhapsody's new "executive operating committee" will be made up of executives Brian Ringer (CTO), Paul Springer (SVP/Americas), Thorsten Schliesche (SVP/Europe), and new CFO Ethan Rudin.

The company also announced investment firm Columbus Nova has taken some ownership of the company. Columbus Nova, by the way, owns Harmonix, which owns the Rock Band videogame franchise. Rhapsody says it will "add resources to enable the company to accelerate its efforts in Europe and emerging markets."

Sandoval puts Rhapsody's fortunes in the larger context of the tough go online music services have had.

"In the post-Napster era, we've yet to see a single digital music distributor generate lasting or significant profits," he wrote. "More recently, Spotify's losses have grown. Grooveshark has cut the size of its workforce. Rdio has struggled to keep pace with Spotify in terms of building an audience. In this environment, Rdio and others are trying to stay competitive. Operators of these sites say the obstacles are significant, as consumers remain reluctant to pay for songs and the cost of licensing music is still too high" -- the two very points Hill made last week in RAIN.

Read Rhapsody's official announcement here. Read Sandoval in The Verge here.

RAIN Summit tomorrow: Streaming music, connected cars, ads & revenue, two keynotes and Internet Radio Awards

Monday, September 16, 2013 - 10:55am

RAIN Summit Orlando takes place tomorrow, September 17, at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort, from noon to 5:30. The day will conclude with the ever-popular RAIN Reader Cocktail party. 

Registration remains open for what is the preeminent educational and networking conference for the Internet radio and online audio space. This edition of the RAIN Summit features five panel discussions, two keynotes, a research presentation on the Internet radio marketplace, and the bestowal of RAIN’s Internet Radio Awards.

Kurt Hanson, RAIN founder, will deliver his annual “State of the Industry” address. David Field, President and CEO of Entercom Communications, will also keynote the event.

Revenue is a strong focus of the day, with three panels concentrating on ads in the digital space: Alternate Revenue Strategies, The Ad Insertion Panel, and Building a Top Digital Sales Team. The automobile, as an unconquered frontier for interactive audio, will be given its due in the “Race to the Dashboard” panel. The day’s final session (but stay for the awards and the cocktails), Streaming Music Trends, examines listener habits and genre programming.

See the full speaker list and session agenda here, and see you tomorrow!

Of course you need access to your Spotify playlists when you're dead

Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 12:55pm

Swedish audio component makers Pause Ljud & Bild, reports Digital Trends, have created product called the CataCombo Sound System -- that pumps your favorite Spotify playlist into your casket!

The system is powered by a two-way speaker system and 2.5 GHz Intel core processor. Plus, there's a 7" LCD screen installed into your headstone, so your next-of-kin can see what you've been listening to lately.

Make sure you set your Spotify playlist to "collaborative," so loved ones can update it for you. Your exposure to new music will undoubtedly be limited, and you wouldn't want to appear "stale" and "out of touch."

Naturally, there's a video demostration. See it, and Digital Trends' coverage, here.

The clever "Grooves for My Grave" Spotify playlist at right comes from Digital Trends as well, which credits some of its suggestions to Redditors.

Turntable.fm to shut down Piki radio app

Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 9:20am

Online social music service Turntable.fm announced in its blog that it is shutting down its Piki service soon.

Piki is the "more laid-back" (as the founders describe it) version of the Turntable service; "a Pandora-like, human-powered radio app combined with powerful Twitter-inspired social features," (as TechCrunch wrote when the beta launched). While Turntable listeners hear music chosen by others in "real time" (in "rooms," like listening to a DJ in person), Piki scans music hand-picked by your friends over time, and creates radio channels based on this music (with the option of listening by genre).

But Piki "just didn’t have the traction that we were hoping for, so we are closing it to fully focus on Turntable," wrote Turntable.fm founder and CEO Billy Chasen in the blog. The Next Web reports Turntable also alerted users via e-mail that the last day of service will be September 23. The company also reportedly pinned Piki's demise on lack of resources to "continue developing and maintaining" the service. It expects to launch a new version of the main Turntable service next month.

Read the Turntable blog here. More in The Next Web here.

Can iTunes Radio be a "Pandora-Killer?" Look to the comments section!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 11:10am

Great wisdom and insight often comes from your readers (we're reminded of that almost daily). Today, a Digital Music News commenter very nicely summarized and aggregated seven advantages pundits believe the new Apple iTunes Radio service has over what will likely be its nearest competitor, Pandora.

The comment was posted to the news source's coverage of NPD Group consultant Russ Crupnik's own seven reasons why the new service may truly be a "Pandora-killer." Using the handle "Here Let Me Research It For Yo," the commenter (after a quick shot about "lazy insights") made good on her/his moniker, and offered relevant bits from sources like the Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Evolver.fm, The Wall Street Journal, and Apple itself.

Most of the points seem to involve how well the service should be integrated within the Apple ecosystem and customer base, but does include a point that "Pandora hasn't continued to innovate..."

See this commenter's round up of "7 Reasons Why Apple's 'Pandora Killer' May Actually Be a 'Pandora Killer'" here.

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