Westergren: Pandora audience large enough to make a real difference to thousands of working artists

Monday, January 21, 2013 - 1:45pm

In his most-recent blog post, Pandora founder Tim Westergren revealed the breadth and depth of Pandora listeners' streaming tastes (and the service's offerings) as reflected in some broad-based 2012 listening stats.

According to his stats, Pandora listners heard more than a million different songs by over 100,000 different artists in 2012. Of these artists, 10% were streamed to more than a quarter-million unique listeners. This totalled over 13 billion hours of music in 2012.

"The Pandora audience is large enough now to begin making a real difference in the lives of thousands of working artists," wrote Westergren.

Read Westergren's blog here.

High-cost licensing may have kept investors and entrepreneurs from launching music services this year

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

Some industry observers and investment experts have said the high cost of sound recording royalties is an obstacle to investment in startups that need to license music from major labels (see RAIN here).

Tech VC David Pakman (a New York Venrock partner) testified before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet regarding the state of Internet radio licensing and the Internet Radio Fairness Act. Although he co-created Apple's Music Group and was CEO of eMusic, he's vowed not to return to nor invest in digital music until the licensing climate changes. As he testified, "Although we have met many great entrepreneurs with great product ideas, we have resisted investing in digital music largely for one reason — the complications and conditions of the state of music licensing." (Read his full testimony here).

So, what might it say that Billboard's Ten Most Internesting Startups of 2012 "doesn't have a single service on the list that requires licenses from record labels to operate?"

Note that it's not likely that poor ad revenue is keeping services from launching. The IAB says (here) Q3 2012 online ad revenue is the most ever for a single quarter. And eMarketer just revised their U.S. mobile ad spend projections, saying it will grow 180% this year (see our coverage in today's issue here).

Whatever the reason, 2012's startup roster lacks some of the bang of years past (Rdio, Spotify, iHeartRadio in recent years). Billboard's list does include a couple of firms that make apps for Spotify and are "radio-related":

Sounddrop: adds a social media element to Spotify radio listening
Tunewiki: synchronizes lyrics with music.

Musically's list was more extensive (40 startups), so it included more companies that are doing things along the lines of Internet radio. Musically's list includes:

Senzari: (which we've covered) Customized radio streams for European markets 
Audiogalaxy: "radio-style mixes," now owned by Dropbox
MPme: iPad app suggests radio stations based on user's listening habits and music collection
Piki: app which builds radio-style playlists based on friends' song recommendations
SpotOn Radio: Spotify app which makes Spotify radio listening more like Pandora.

See Billboard's "Ten Most Interesting" here. See Musically's "40 Music Startups and services to watch" here.

eMarketer: Streaming music to get a "full test" in coming year

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 11:00am

eMarketer predicts 2012 will be a test for streaming musicJennifer Lane reports today in Audio4Cast that eMarketer's recent webinar predicting key digital trends of 2012 highlights streaming music. It will be the year "cloud-based streaming gets a full test," says eMarketer.

"Rapid adoption of smartphones, tablets and other connected devices has shifted consumer expectations. Now, consumers expect consumption to be seamless across all of their connected platforms. This creates both a challenge and an opportunity for content providers and advertisers as they move to meet those expectations," writes Lane.

You can find her coverage here and listen to eMarketer's webinar here.

Group heads plan to focus on radio's mobile experience in 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012 - 11:00am

Radio predictions for 2012Inside Radio today highlights digital radio trends to watch for in 2012, including the improvement of radio streams, the desire for a universal streaming radio platform and the transition from Flash to HTML5.

"Stations need to think of how their websites are built beyond the desktop browser," said Hubbard Radio VP of digital media Mark Preston. That especially includes iPads, which don't support Flash. Instead, Preston recommends adopting HTML5 (for more on HTML5 and Flash, find more RAIN coverage here).

Meanwhile, other digital radio executives tell Inside Radio that the industry "needs to collectively embrace a universal app where consumers can access all broadcast radio streams, not just those owned by one company." A similar platform, Radioplayer, exists in the UK (RAIN coverage here).

Finally, radio execs also spoke to the need to improve the streaming listening experience. "For Clear Channel and others," writes Inside Radio, "that includes limiting the number of in-stream commercials to better align the online experience with audience expectations."

You can subscribe to Inside Radio's daily newsletter here.

1/3: Bubba the Love Sponge heading to Internet radio, to host live Net radio show on Radioio

Friday, 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)

In-dash system supports Pandora and iHeartRadio, will be offered for 2012 Tacoma, Camry and Prius V

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 - 11:00am

Toyota's Entune system, with Pandora and iHeartRadio picturedToyota's Entune in-car Internet radio system will be offered with the 2012 Tacoma, Camry and Prius V. The announcement marks yet another major car manufacturer bringing web radio to consumers' dashboards. Toyota is promoting its Entune system, along with the new Prius V, on a nationwide tour that runs though December.

"At launch, [Entune] will include more apps than other automakers' systems," writes CNet (here). The system supports Pandora and iHeartRadio -- along with various other apps -- via a Bluetooth-connected iPhone, Android or BlackBerry device. Toyota says (here) the system will also support general Bluetooth streaming (presumably allowing users to listen to any Net radio app through a Bluetooth-ready mobile device), USB connectivity, satellite and HD radio.

Like Ford's Sync system (which supports also Pandora and iHeartRadio), drivers will be able to control playback with voice commands. Otherwise, the system uses an in-dash touchscreen display. Engadget reported earlier this year (here) that Entune will be free for the at least the first three years (the cost will reportedly be "included with the factory navigation option," at least in the Prius V). 

Toyota debuted Entune in January during CES (RAIN coverage here). It then won CNET's "Best of CES" and Popular Mechanics "Editor's Choice" awards.

Ford, BMW, Mini, Mercedes, GM, Smart and other car-makers also offer in-car web radio features. You can find our in-car Internet radio round-up here.

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