AOL Radio

Winamp’s Shut Down Was Inevitable

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 12:40pm

This article was originally published in Audio4cast.

The announcement that Winamp would shut down before the end of the year didn’t surprise me given that AOL had already abandoned its online radio platform, but it did make me pause. There have been several times this year that I have stopped and thought that surely this event is one of the signals that online audio has left the “niche” stage of its development and entered the reality of being a full blown mass appeal marketplace. One that a product like Winamp, free downloadable software that began as a tool to enable people to play all those songs they downloaded from Napster, couldn’t survive in.

In fact, I’ve wondered a lot over the years, why AOL kept updating it at all – given that the business model – getting users to pay for an improved upgrade to the player – was so weak. In fact, AOL didn’t just continue to update and distribute Winamp when it purchased Nullsoft in 1999 for $400 million, it also kept Shoutcast running all this time as well. And that was an even stranger conundrum, given that many of the biggest stations on Shoutcast were getting free bandwidth (at least a few years back they were). The deal was, at least back in the early 2000s, that you couldn’t run any ads if you wanted the free bandwidth. I never could figure out why that was. Didn’t that hurt AOL’s own Internet radio platform?

In any event, although Winamp and Shoutcast operated independently at AOL for lots of years, it seems that someone has finally noticed the lack of a business model in that department. Winamp will shut down later this month, although there is word that Microsoft may purchase the intellectual property. The end of an era that also signifies the arrival of a new one – the mature online audio marketplace, where you have to have a business model to compete…

Slacker reportedly will become "completely different" following imminent "major overhaul"

Monday, January 14, 2013 - 12:25pm

Slashgear is reporting webcaster Slacker Radio will soon hold an event "to reveal a complete overhaul of the service."

Slacker, one of the country's leading webcasters (after Pandora, Clear Channel's iHeartRadio, and now Cumulus stations), has made the effort to widen access to its service (see RAIN here), including deals with Microsoft for the Xbox 360, Sprint for the "Entertain Me" app bundle on mobile devices, and Chrysler with Uconnect. Yet Slacker hasn't seen major audience growth since it picked up the Aol Radio channels (see RAIN here), in October of 2011.

"A PR representative for Slacker told us that the company will launch a major overhaul of the radio service in order to better compete with Spotify and other popular music-streaming services," Slashgear reports. "The service will see a refocusing of its efforts, and the redesign and restructuring will be completely different than what the service is currently all about."

Read more here (and, h/t to Tom Taylor, who covers it today here).

ABC News Radio taps TargetSpot for digital advertising

Wednesday, April 18, 2012 - 12:45pm

ABC News RadioABC News Radio has partnered with TargetSpot to deliver online advertising on ABC News audio content. TargetSpot will deliver in-stream audio, video and display ads within ABC News Radio's web content.

"This new relationship gives advertisers the opportunity to sponsor audio versions of Good Morning America, Nightline, World News with Diane Sawyer along with our comprehensive coverage of news and entertainment," said ABC News Radio GM and VP Steve Jones (who recently spoke at RAIN Summit West 2012).

ABC News Radio also has digital partnerships with Slacker and AOL Radio (RAIN coverage here).

10/19: AOL Radio relaunches with Slacker

Friday, 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)

MS offers free trials of Slacker, Aol Radio, Pandora premium services with IE9 download

Thursday, November 10, 2011 - 11:05am

Microsoft is enticing consumers to try its Windows Internet Explorer 9 web browser with free trials of premium music services like Slacker Radio, Aol Radio, Pandora, and Grooveshark (and other premium services).IE9 premium service offers

Right now, U.S. consumers who download and install IE9 can get 3 free months of Slacker's and AOL Radio's subscription services. Over the coming weeks, the offerings will expand to include a free month of Grooveshark and Pandora, plus free trials of video services Hulu and Vimeo, and more (see image). 

You'll need to have the Windows 7 operating system (necessary for IE9), and you need to be a U.S. resident to get the deal. Go to BeautyoftheWeb.com to download Windows Internet Explorer 9, click on the prize of your choosing and follow the instructions, including pinning the icon to the taskbar and sharing on Facebook or Twitter.

New AOL Radio slashes audio ad-load in half, features Slacker's personalization and subscription offerings

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - 10:00am

The new AOL Radio powered by SlackerAOL 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 (find video coverage here).

The service also now offers Slacker's personalization features, non-music content from ESPN Radio and (soon) ABC Radio, plus subscription plans that remove ads and offer on-demand features (read more on Slacker's subscription services here).

Namerow told Bloomberg the new features and reduced ad-load is aimed at "reversing a 25% drop in AOL Radio users from a year ago." AOL Radio attracts around 3 million users a month, according to Namerow (more here).

The new AOL Radio can be found online here. AOL Radio also released a new iPhone app, with an Android version due before the end of the year.

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