Audio4Cast

Lane says website shows "RIAA and NARM are bad business partners for Internet radio"

Wednesday, January 9, 2013 - 1:45pm

Jennifer Lane, in her Audio4Cast blog, takes the record industry to task for its treatment of webcasters on its WhyMusicMatters.com website.

The music industry site serves as a directory for consumers to find legitimate, licensed music services. Lane describes the site's presentation of various services offering "downloads/mp3s," "streaming," and more.

But while on-demand and music subscription services (as well as services in a category called "Premium Internet Radio") are given bold-face "headline" names, brief text descriptions, and thumbnail images, most webcasters are relegated to a "statutory services" page "where the listener has to click through hundreds of alphabetized radio stations (no logos, no descriptions, no links) to find one," according to Lane.

"I’m disappointed in the site," she writes. "Unfortunately, this site is a glaring in-your-face example of a bad business partnership. Internet radio services, Pandora in particular, are paying a lot of money in royalties to SoundExchange, the royalty collection arm of the RIAA, and in return they get a listing buried deep in the site with no logo or link."

She continues: "Is there any other business you can think of where the vendors treat their retailers so badly? Because that’s what this is, it’s streaming services buying the rights to content and offering it to consumers. And clearly the RIAA and NARM are bad business partners for Internet radio."

Read her blog here

Meeker: Pandora desktop monetization 1.7 times that of mobile, but that outpaces some other web services

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 11:35am

Meeker's mobile statsAccording to a recent presentation from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers' Mary Meeker, Pandora's ahead of some other major web companies in terms of mobile monetization.

Meeker's recent presentation at the D10 conference (RAIN coverage here) included a comparison of desktop/mobile monetization rates among Pandora, Tencent (a Chinese web portal) and Zynga. According to the chart, Pandora monetizes its desktop audience 1.7 times more than mobile, compared to 3.3 for Tencent and 5.0 for Zynga.

"The good news is that mobile monetization will catch up," writes Jennifer Lane in Audio4Cast. "In fact Meeker says that in 1 – 3 years it will surpass desktop." You can find Audio4Cast's coverage here.

Some critics wonder if joining iHeartRadio platform worth pulling streams from other sites

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 11:05am

iHeartRadio's growing networkVarious industry publications and commentators have recently voiced or reported second thoughts about iHeartRadio's role as an aggregator. Specifically, some question the wisdom of going along with Clear Channel's reported exclusivity requirement for joining iHeartRadio.

Clear Channel has recently added hundreds of third-party station streams to iHeartRadio from Greater Media, Cumulus, EMF, Univision, as well as various non-comms and college stations.

Jennifer Lane writes in Audio4Cast that some of these companies "are rumored to have made iHeartRadio their exclusive digital portal." She thinks that's a dangerous move: "Content creators should work with every distribution platform they can to give listeners access in as many ways as they want it." (Find her blog post here.)

That echoes industry journalist Sean Ross, who in late 2011 wrote (more here) "I’m still in favor of station streams being available in as many places as possible," (though with the warning: "aggregation is not curation").

Earlier this month Carleton College "snubbed" an offer from Clear Channel to join iHeartRadio, Radio-Info reported (here). The student station manager said that to join iHeartRadio, the college station "would have to pull its live stream from all other sites" like TuneIn.

Soon after that story broke, an unnamed commercial station executive told Radio-Info's Tom Taylor that his or her station too "had second thoughts about the requirement that we would have to remove our signal from all other Internet services." The executive did not reveal if the station ended up joining iHeartRadio anyway.

Finally, industry commentator Ken Dardis today points to data from Google to argue iHeartRadio isn't as popular, or as easy to find, as you might expect.

"Be careful about getting caught up in hype," he argues (here). "The exclusivity clause offered to new iHeartRadio stations may turn out to be more a shackle for acquiring, than a bridge to exposure."

What do you think? Is going exclusive with iHeartRadio a good idea? Share your opinion by commenting on this article.

Jennifer Lane, Kurt Hanson call "one-to-one vs. one-to-many" a meaningless distinction

Tuesday, January 10, 2012 - 9:00am

Just before the holidays, broadcasters' collective "foot came down" with Arbitron and Katz360 in regards to Pandora.

Traditional radio doesn't like Pandora. It's not "real radio," broadcasters say. They don't want Pandora listening measured using the same metrics as the broadcast world, because that might allow Pandora (and Internet radio as a whole) to "sipon off...ad dollars" to which broadcasters feel entitled. And broadcasters made it clear how they feel to Katz360 and Arbitron. So Katz360 dumped Pandora. And Arbitron issued a warning against putting any credence in listening reports from Pandora. You can review all of this in more detail with our coverage we link to here.

Yesterday in her Audio4Cast blog, Jennifer Lane took particular exception to one of arguments Arbitron made in its statement regarding Pandora. Arbitron wants the reader to believe it's not logical to compare audience estimates of broadcast listening (that is, many people listening to the same thing at the same time) to estimates of webcast listening, because in many cases (e.g. Pandora) each listener is listening to his or her own personal stream (no one else is hearing the same songs and ads at the same moment as anyone else).

"They’ve created an imaginary line to justify measuring the two categories separately and differently," Lane writes. "Supposedly, because 'one to many' audiences are all exposed to the message simultaneously while 'one to one' listeners are exposed to the message during their unique sessions, the data is different and cannot be assimilated."

RAIN senior editor and AccuRadio founder Kurt Hanson dismantles the argument by using an example of an ad campaign spread across various broadcast stations during a designated hour and day -- naturally, the ad won't play at the exact same moment on all stations. Lane herself uses the example of network radio programs, which can run on hundreds of stations at various times.

But it's really not about logic, it's about Arbitron bending to pressure from their broadcast clients. 

"As a research firm, (Arbitron is) obligated to create products that are fair and objective," she writes. "The listening landscape is rapidly evolving into a space that includes new audio platforms. Ultimately, advertisers and listeners will decide the landscape – listeners will listen to what they want to hear and advertisers will spend to reach them." By refusing to compare broadcast and webcast audiences based on meaningless distinctions like "one-to-many vs. one-to-one" messaging, these research firms do themselves, ad buyers, and ultimately radio a disservice by not providing the best and most accurate product they can.

Jennifer Lane's Audio4Cast blog on this topic is here.

Apps for on-demand service Spotify add "interesting, programmed and curated channels"

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 11:00am

Spotify's new app platformYesterday on-demand music service Spotify announced a new app platform that allows partners like Rolling Stone and Last.fm to steer listeners towards new music discoveries in the same way traditional radio has for years.

For example, the app from CBS Music Interactive's Last.fm will not only recommend new Spotify music to users but will automatically create radio-like playlists based on a single track or the user's listening history. "This is bound to be a killer app for the service," writes Engadget (here).

Rolling Stone's app similarly will offer curated playlists every day "to highlight cool new music," writes VentureBeat. "A Moodagent app will help choose tracks according to your state of mind," writes MediaPost

"The apps turn Spotify into something more than just a streaming music service," comments VentureBeat. "Now, Spotify can be the center of your musical universe."

"Spotify becomes an on-demand service AND an endless number of interesting, programmed and curated channels with this move," writes Audio4Cast's Jennifer Lane (here).

Other app partners include Billboard, Pitchfork, We Are Hunted, The Guardian and others. Spotify will allow other third-party developers to build apps as well. 

In sum, the apps will help users discover and learn more about new music -- all within Spotify's "sandbox." The app platform moves Spotify closer to competing directly with Internet radio services, if not radio as a whole.

Though currently only available to desktop users, the company may eventually bring the app to mobile devices as well.

Spotify is an on-demand music streaming service, allowing users to listen to specific songs out of a library of 15 million tracks. The company offers an ad-support free service and paid subscription offerings. It directly competes with other services like MOG, Rdio and Rhapsody. It currently has 2.5 million paid members worldwide.

You can find out more from Spotify here, VentureBeat here and MediaPost here

BLOOMBERG LAUNCHES RADIO iPHONE APP

Wednesday, September 21, 2011 - 11:00am

Bloomberg earlier Bloomberg's mobile appsthis week announced the launch of its Bloomberg Radio+ app for iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Users can stream Bloomberg Radio 24/7 via the app, listen to on-demand podcasts, view "real-time charts, get the latest market information and news, and access guest bios," says Bloomberg.

Writes Audio4Cast's Jennifer Lane: "It is a good example of the way a radio app can become so much more on a mobile device…[the app] is a big value proposition for listeners -- and a smart move for Bloomberg." You can find Lane's coverage here and Bloomberg's press release here.

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