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QUICK HITS: Google expansion; iHeart deal

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 - 12:45pm

Google All Access expands to seven more countries: A search for this topic yields over 7,000 versions of a simple announcement: Google’s streaming and music-locker service is newly available in the Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, Liechtenstein, the Netherlands, Russia, and Switzerland -- in addition to the 12 other countries already enjoying the service. Some portions of the commentariat are grumbling that there is still no Google Internet radio in Canada.

iHeartRadio gets Turner content: Clear Channel-owned iHeart has inked a content deal with Turner Broadcasting which will enhance its Talk offerings. Users can expect to see clips from CONAN (Conan O’Brien’s TBS variety show), as well as select sports and news programming. The Talk portion of iHeart’s app currently includes a strong ABC presence, and the Turner deal could provide some balance. President of Clear Channel Digital Brian LaKamp called the deal “a significant milestone for iHeartRadio Talk.”

Once again, Pandora named Best Overall in RAIN Internet Radio Awards

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 - 12:40pm

(from yesterday's late edition, edited)
Nothing like ending the day on an "up" note. For the fourth straight year, leading webcaster Pandora has been named the 2013 RAIN Internet Radio Best Overall Online Radio Service.

The Awards were presented at the conclusion of yesterday's RAIN Summit Orlando.

Pandora's prize follows a series of somewhat less pleasant developments for the webcaster. For starters, today is the launch of what will very likely prove to be Pandora's greatest competitive threat yet: Apple's iTunes Radio. Monday, Pandora publicly warned share holders that the rapid listening and revenue growth it's enjoyed these past few years will likely be slowing. And Tuesday, RAIN Summit keynote speaker Entercom CEO David Field questioned the veracity of Pandora's reported listening numbers. Perhaps the kudos came at a good time.

Pandora has dominated the award the way it dominates the online streaming space, taking it all four years since RAIN began the awards in 2010 (last year it shared the "overall" award with ESPN Radio).

Congratulations to tuning/aggregator service TuneIn for capturing the Best Overall Digital Strategy prize. The award for International Excellence in Online Audio went to online radio hosting service Radionomy. Boston's WEEI-FM won the award for Best Streaming Broadcast Station. And the 2013 RAIN Internet Radio Award for Best Single Stream Webcaster went to Christian rocker The Blast.

More than 100 services entered the Awards this year. Winners were determined by an independent panel of industry expert judges.

Triton Digital, which sponsors the awards, gave its 2013 RAINMaker Award for individual achievement to Ali Abhary, CEO of Spectrum Medya in Turkey.

Look for more coverage of RAIN Summit Orlando soon.

Abacast live stream song-skipping launches in beta

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 - 12:00pm

Digital radio software and services provider Abacast has officially beta-released a feature to allow song-skipping on "live" radio streams, and announced a new feature to ensure radio streams begin with music (we first reported on this in February, here).

The song-skipping beta is now available for streaming listeners on Federated Media’s WMEE in Fort Wayne, IN.

"When a listener chooses to skip a song that is currently being played, another song from the station’s playlist will be played immediately and in its entirety for that listener," the company says. Its "Personalized Live Radio" is designed so that the rest of the stream plays seamlessly and in its entirety as well.

The new "MusicStart" feature should roll out in Q1 of next year. Abacast created it to deal with the problem of a listener launching a stream and not immediately getting content that will make her stay (e.g. commercials). Also part of the "Personalized Live Radio tech," the new feature guarantees that all streams start off with music.

Edison looks into habits of those who listen to Net-only radio at work

Tuesday, September 10, 2013 - 11:10am

Edison Research offers some insight into the habits of at-work Internet radio listeners today. Edison has posted some graphs of its findings from the "What's Working at Work" study (sponsored by Radionomy).

Edison found that among the most popular reasons for listening to Internet-only radio while working are "hear favorite songs" (82%), "discover new songs" (72%), "create 'radio stations' based on favorite songs or artists" (72%), "ability to skip" (67%), and "music not on AM/FM" (65%).

According to the study, 86% of those who listen to Internet-only radio at work also "sometimes" (49%) or "frequently" (37%) listen in other locations. In a typical week, 31% says they listen to two different Internet-only radio stations.

The most popular genres amongst at-work pureplay listeners were Rock (especially Classic Rock) and Top 40/Hit Music.

See the Edison/Radionomy summary here. Edison will present "What's Working At Work?" at the NAB/RAB Radio Show in Orlando on September 20.

Industry announcements from Livio, Abacast, StreamGuys, Triton Digital, and more

Monday, June 10, 2013 - 12:15pm

Here are some new developments from industry firms (who aren't Apple) we think you may find interesting:

Livio has announced Livio Keys and the FM Traffic Button, two new products they say can generate new revenue for car manufacturers and app developers. Livio Keys is a "communication solution" that links carmakers and software developers with tools and customizable services. The FM Traffic Button uses code added to an embedded app on an in-dash infotainment system to provide up-to-the-minute, on-demand traffic reports for U.S. markets.

Abacast has announced a new partnership with Cue.AD, the first Israeli ad network for digital radio. The deal, says, Abacast, will provide that nation's first solution for digital radio broadcasters and advertisers along with a complete online radio streaming and monetization service.

Industry research firm Reportlinker has a new study out called "Global Internet Radio Industry," which it says provides comprehensive analytics for the U.S., Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and more, with annual estimates and forecasts for 2010-2018. The report covers 45 companies like Pandora, Clear Channel, Slacker, Rhapsody, SomaFM, Digitally Imported, and AccuRadio. Read more (and purchase the report) here.

StreamGuys will now support the open-source Ogg Opus codec, which it says will give webcasters more options for high-quality, low-latency audio streaming. The Ogg Opus codec is free to use, offers broadcast-quality reproduction, and doesn't lag behind real-time broadcasting (like streaming MP3 can).

Triton Digital announced it's successfully deployed its Advertising Platform including Ad Injector to Sao Paulo, Brazil-based broadcaster Kiss Telecomunicações LTDA.

Marketron has expanded its partnership with Saga Communications. The broadcaster will now use Marketron's Insight reporting product, Proof of Performance, and Network Connect.

Copyright chief Pallante renews priority for "full sound recording performance right," aka on-air radio royalty

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 12:05pm

Speaking at the World Creators Summit in Washington, D.C., U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria Pallante confirmed "Provid(ing) a full public performance right for sound recordings" -- assumed by some to mean broadcast radio royalties for records -- is a policy priority of the U.S. Copyright Office.

In October of 2011 the Copyright Office officially stated terrestrial radio royalties were a priority for the next two years, basing the argument on the need for parity with other services like Internet radio.

"There is an economic disadvantage between the businesses that offer sound recordings over the Internet as compared to those that offer them over the air (the former are required to pay performance royalties while the latter are not)," read the "Priorities and Special Projects" paper released in October 2011 (see more in RAIN here). "Finding a way to reconcile these differences has been a long-standing goal of Congress and the Copyright Office, and the Office will continue to provide analysis and support on this important issue."

Earlier this year Pallante pledged to work towards copyright law reform, focusing specifically on the DMCA (which is the primary law governing Internet radio's use of copyright sound recordings). See more in RAIN here.

The Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet Subcommittee of the House Judiciary held its first hearing on comprehensive copyright review last month (see RAIN here).

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