Apple said to be developing method for embedding links in audio itself

Friday, August 9, 2013 - 1:00pm

With a patent filed last year, Apple seems to be working on a way to embed links or other device instructions in audio files -- not in the metadata, but in the audio signal itself.

This "audio hyperlink," reports TechCrunch, "would use audible or inaudible signals embedded in a music or other audio track to link out to other media, or to perform some function on the device when encountered."

Imagine listening to a podcast, and the speaker makes note of a particular picture or graph. The link embedded into the audio could display that image at the right moment -- sort of a Powerpoint-type experience. Or, it might be a way to better associate liner notes and "purchase" links with music files.

By embedding the information into the audio itself, the link could become more portable (not subject to metadata changes or deletion), but not impossible to destroy (through transcoding the audio itself, one could imagine).

TechCrunch suggests could make "audio files into something truly interactive, and better-suited to the multimedia-rich mobile platforms that exist today."

Read more here.

Agogo app creates customized audio stream, including music, from online sources

Friday, August 9, 2013 - 1:00pm

A new online audio "aggregation" service called Agogo is designed to collect music and spoken word content to generate a custom feed, and specially for use in the car.

Agogo launched Wednesday via its free app for Apple mobile devices, CNet reports. With it, a listener can connect to a Spotify or Rdio account for music, and "interconnect" with NPR content, local traffic reports (from Clear Channel), text-to-speech news articles, book excerpts (from Simon & Scuster), and even audio from online television programming. A Stitcher of sorts, but with music content.

Founder J.D. Heilprin told CNet, "Awesome audio programming is bountiful, but today it is trapped inside content silos and spread across apps. We built Agogo to radically improve the audio experience for people on the go."

Read more in CNet here.

Audio from recent RAIN Summit Europe now available for free, on-demand streaming or download

Monday, June 3, 2013 - 11:40am

Audio from the recent RAIN Summit Europe event is now available on SoundCloud here, with links on this website (look in the right-hand margin of

The recent Summit conference, in Brussels May 23, was RAIN Summit's first full-day European event. It featured speakers like Media UK managing director and "radio futurologist" James Cridland (from the UK), Havas Media head of radio Jean Pierre Cassaing (France), 7digital CEO and founder Ben Drury (UK), and Radionomy CEO Alexandre Saboundjian (Belgium). Panel discussions explored topics like ad sales, listener measurement, mobile and in-dash listening, and social media.

You can see the RAIN Summit Europe full agenda and speakers list here. Audio from this spring's RAIN Summit West (April 7 in Las Vegas) can be found here.

Look for details of RAIN Summit Orlando (including the keynote speaker), September 17, in RAIN soon!

Strata CEO says category change from 'radio' to 'audio' reflects audience, advertiser shifts

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 6:20pm

"The past is about radio. The present and future are about audio."

That's not Pandora founder Tim Westergren saying that, or even RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson. That's John Shelton, president/CEO of Strata, the leading buying and selling platform for all types of media.

Shelton wrote an op-ed in MediaPost to explain his company's decision to transition to use of the term "'audio' to encompass all of the current audio platforms in use, including traditional radio, online streaming radio, and music streaming Web sites, such as Pandora and Spotify."

He cites his company's surveys that show "a consistent decrease over the past 18 quarters in ad buyers’ interest in radio advertising," while American's use of online radio and other digital platforms is growing rapidly.

"Some traditional stations are actually seeing growth again -- not due to traditional listening but Internet streaming," he wrote. "Advertisers should take note." Some apparently have, as he cites the RAB's 2012 digital revenues figure of $767 million, up 63% from 2009. Likewise, first-quarter ad buys on Pandora through Strata were up 35%.

Read Shelton's piece at MediaPost here.

Hear audio from Vegas Summit on TuneIn and SoundCloud

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 12:35pm

We're really happy to let you know that you can now hear complete audio from our recent RAIN Summit West conference in Las Vegas earlier this month. If you weren't able to make it out to Vegas for the show (or you were, and you'd like to review), audio of every panel, speech, and presentation is now available.

First, we've uploaded every element from the Summit as separate audio files to SoundCloud, which you can find here. Listen to each on-demand, in any order you want, when you're ready.

You can also listen to the Summit, front-to-back, as a stream from RAIN Summits streaming partner TuneIn (which carried audio live along with technology partner Backbone Networks). RAIN Summit West on TuneIn is here (if you have any problems connecting, please try both the AAC and MP3 streams -- you'll see links in the lower-right on TuneIn under "AVAILABLE STREAMS"). You can also listen via TuneIn's mobile app -- just look under "Talk" and "Technology," or search for "RAIN Summit."

Make sure you visit RAIN Summits' Facebook page as well for snapshots from the event (including the RAIN Reader Cocktail Party).

Registration is now open for the May 23 RAIN Summit Europe at the Hotel BLOOM! in Brussels. Please visit the RAIN Summit Europe page for agenda details and to register.

Despite buzz around streaming video, streaming audio reaches far and away more Americans weekly

Monday, February 11, 2013 - 12:15pm

While streaming video content is a hot topic, its reach among all adult age groups in the U.S. is dwarfed by streaming audio and radio content.

As you can see from the chart, 40% of 18-24s listen to streaming audio or radio weekly. That reach falls as subjects age, but is still a strong 1 in 4 35-54s.

Obviously, streaming audio is technically easier (with a lower bandwidth requirement). It's easier to enjoy audio on mobile platforms and while driving. And as MediaPost points out, "Radio and any other kind of streaming can be done on the computer while working on the same device -- whether for the purpose of providing background music, sports commentary or other forms of talk-based content."

Consultant Mark Ramsey commented, "For anyone who continues to chirp that 'Pandora is not radio,' I suggest you tell that to the advertiser who sees up to 40% reach on an ad-supported audio platform."

The study was conducted by USA TouchPoints. Read more in MediaPost here and Mark Ramsey here.

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