Young: Web piracy now "how music gets around"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 11:00am

Neil Young"I look at the Internet as the new radio. I look at the radio as gone...Piracy is the new radio. That’s how music gets around...That's the radio."

So said legendary singer/songwriter Neil Young in an interview at the Dive Into Media conference in Los Angeles. And tech publication GigaOM agrees.

"Comparing piracy to radio is a smart way of looking at the issue," writes Matthew Ingram in GigaOM. "In the early days of the music business, when live performances and record sales were the main revenue generator for artists and publishers, radio itself was seen as a form of piracy (as sheet music was before that)."

But of course, radio became a "huge revenue driver" and "publicitiy engine" for music.

GigaOM writes that online file sharing may be on a similar path, though: "File-sharing and monetization aren’t mutually exclusive, and in many cases a certain amount of so-called 'piracy' can actually be good for business, as authors, musicians and even game developers have come to realize."

Additionally, GigaOM writes (here) consumers often engage in copyright infringement because it's easier than navigating distributors' "cumbersome" routes to official content. One could perhaps argue radio offered the same benefit to music lovers when buying records or attending live concerts were the only alternatives.

What do you think? Is Neil Young right that piracy is the new radio for music? Sound off in the comments!

Envision launches local high school sports web platform for affiliate stations

Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - 8:00am

Envision Radio Networks' new High School SportsSiteEnvision Radio Networks has launched a web service called High School SportsSite, which provides local high school sports stats to affiliate stations. The site automatically collects high school sports scores used ScoreFeeder.

The goal is reportedly to help Envision affiliates "own high school sports in their market and drive new revenue streams from clients that want to support their community." You can find the site demo here.

Hat tip to Tom Taylor and Radio-Info for reporting the story. You can find more coverage in today's Taylor on Radio-Info newsletter here.

Pandora's share of radio listening may be even higher than what they claim

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 11:00am

New numbers confirm "just how big a share Pandora has amassed"

Using new data from Arbitron, industry news source Inside Radio determines that Pandora's monthly listening is approximately 5% of the total listening of over-the-air radio.
A new calculation from Arbitron found that Americans are exposed to 14.6 billion hours of radio every month. That calculation was apparently "created at the request of the company’s clients to give broadcast radio a way to show how it stacks up against Pandora," reports Inside Radio. The publication compared this number to Pandora's own Q3 report to investors to calculate the percentage.

Pandora recently told its investors it logged 2.1 billion listener hours during Q3 (up from around 1 billion the year before; more here). "That equates to an average 700 million listener hours per month or about 5% the size of over-the-air radio," writes Inside Radio. The publication points out that the figure exceeds the percentage Pandora has recently stated.

"Today we only have a bit more than 4% of all radio listening in this country," CEO Joe Kennedy told CNBC earlier this month (more here). Pandora said it represented 2.3% of all radio listening at the end of 2010 (more here).


Inside Radio writes that this confirms "just how big a share Pandora has amassed in just a few short years."

"It’s worth noting that each [Arbitron and Pandora] uses different methodologies," notes Inside Radio. "Arbitron’s figures are based on RADAR’s combined PPM and diary survey estimates (Persons 12+, Mon-Sun 6AM-Mid) while Pandora’s actual server-side numbers come from Triton Digital."

You can subscribe to receive Inside Radio daily here.

RAIN AnalysisRAIN ANALYSIS: RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson calculates -- assuming Pandora's 2.1 billion figure is accurate -- that the webcaster has the equivalent of a 4.8 share of all U.S. radio listening.

That's higher than any number Pandora has ever quoted (though it would be slightly less if Pandora were included in Arbitron's calculation, and it's likely SiriusXM was not included either). -- MS

If Pandora provides value and a better way to enjoy music, "real radio" question is irrelevant, says Jacobs

Monday, January 23, 2012 - 11:00am

Own a digital camera? Do you take photos with your phone?

Here's why we ask: Consultant Fred Jacobs, in his Jacoblog today, offers a nice analogy of some broadcasters' thinking in regards to Pandora and the argument that it "isn't radio." Imagine it's the 1980s, and you work at Kodak. And someone said this:

"Digital isn’t really photography. Photography is defined as buying a roll of film, inserting it into the camera, taking pictures that exhausts the film supply, removing the film from the camera, and taking the roll of the film to a drugstore or Photomat, waiting a day or two, paying for the processing, and picking up the pictures – some of which look good but most are terrible. That’s photography. So you can’t say that 'digital photography' is really photography because it doesn’t use film and doesn’t need to be processed."

How'd that turn out for Kodak and "real" photography? See, the crux of it is: consumers don't care whether something they find entertaining or useful fits your strict definition or category. If I can watch a film on my tablet, whether or not the industry considers that "seeing a movie" couldn't be more irrelevant to me. What should be relevant to the industry is that I may do this instead of going to the theater. Or watching something on television. And if someone is playing song after song of music that may or may not be in my personal library, perhaps in my car, it doesn't really matter to me whether it fits your definition of radio. But my engagement with it should be relevant to you!

What's important is that your listeners may enjoy this in addition to (or instead of) your content

Back to Fred Jacobs, who asks, "Instead of arguing about whether Pandora is or isn’t radio, wouldn’t it be smarter to learn what consumers are thinking, feeling, and doing – and then incorporate that learning into radio’s brands?"

Read his blog here.

B'casters should welcome combo ratings with pureplays, argues Del Colliano: The advantage is still theirs

Thursday, January 12, 2012 - 9:00am

Radio industry vet Jerry Del Colliano is another voice in the chorus of experts who say broadcasters are making a mistake by trying to force ratings services to segregate their listening estimates from those of "pureplay" Internet radio (catch up on RAIN coverage here, here, and in today's top story here). He suggests broadcasters' thinking should be guided by how radio will need to succeed in the future: by building a brand that goes far beyond a broadcast tower and PPM.  

"Pureplays are here and radio can co-exist with them. Even, distinguish themselves," Del Colliano wrote in his Inside Music Media blog yesterday. "Pureplay stations can’t do local radio and terrestrial stations can... for the stations that are still live and local, bring on the pureplays, radio will continue to perform well."

So, radio broadcasters, why not launch your own pureplay service? Or two? Get into the low-barrier-to-entry game of Internet-only radio, secure in the knowledge that webcasters can meet your ante and easily go and pick up a broadcast frequency or two. "There is no reason why you can’t own radio stations, iPad formats, paid services, video sites and pureplay music stations based on your brands." NPR has built for themselves a brand and a value that goes way beyond simply "radio stations," and local commercial broadcasters need to follow that blueprint, he suggests. "Agencies are screaming for digital... Smart money is on making strategic adjustments in advance so that broadcast stations will be poised to gain an advantage."

Read more and subscribe to Inside Music Media here.

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 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.

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