broadcasters

PPL to U.S. radio: Pay royalties, or block UK streams

Tuesday, July 23, 2013 - 11:30am

Inside Radio reports today UK-based music licensing company and performance rights organisation PPL has contacted several U.S. broadcast groups to insist they pay royalties for UK stream listening, or block the streams altogether. According to Inside Radio, Cox Media Group is one of the groups that received the letter.

Broadcasters like Clear Channel, Emmis, and CBS Radio indeed take measures to prevent non-U.S. streaming. In fact, the PPL says no U.S. radio group has approached the organization for a license. While Pandora blocks UK listening, U.S. operator Live 365 is PPL-licensed to stream to UK listeners.

According to the news source, only the largest radio groups have been contacted by PPL -- so far. PPL spokesman Jonathan Morrish did say the organization plans to send similar letters to other American broadcasters as part of a "broader PPL project."

Morrish said his group is "merely ensuring that services that are streaming in the UK are correctly licensed... Any overspill received outside the U.S. would not therefore be covered by the U.S. statutory license and instead separate licensing arrangements would need to be made."

While generally broadcasters aren't interested in streaming to foreign listeners their advertisers aren't interested in reaching, one exception Inside Radio brings up is overseas-based U.S. military audiences.

More in Inside Radio here.

Triton Digital releases April Internet radio ratings

Thursday, June 6, 2013 - 12:05pm

Industry leading webcaster Pandora saw its April Average Active Sessions (the online radio equivalent of Average Quarter Hour) fall 7% March to April, in the first full month of its 40-hour/month cap on free mobile listening. Meanwhile, most of the top streaming broadcast groups saw double-digit AAS growth in April.

Triton Digital's Webcast Metrics Top 20 rankers for April were released yesterday.

While Pandora's listening was down a bit, broadcast groups like Clear Channel, Cumulus, and CBS Radio all enjoyed 11%-13% AAS bumps in April. Clear Channel (which has the iHeartRadio online radio platform) is up 42% over the past twelve months, and up 21% in 2013 alone. Only Cox among the top broadcast streamers was down in April, 12%. While Cox's AAS is down 10% so far this year, it's still grown 21% since April 2012. Note that Cox recently sold several clusters in markets like Birmingham, Richmond, south Connecticut, Hawaii, Louisville, and Greenville -- and this ratings period reflects the loss of that listening.

Internet radio pureplay Slacker continues its streak, up another 11% in April (and 40% in 2013). And the online-only webcaster idobi, which seemingly came out of nowhere in November to join the ranks of the top pureplays in Webcast Metrics, also got a 10% AAS bump in April.

These numbers, by the way, all come from the 6a-12a, Monday through Sunday "Domestic" ranking (see the chart below). A former top pureplay in that ranking, Digitally Imported, is now the top pureplay and second only to Clear Channel on the "All Streams" ranker (which takes non-U.S. listening into account). (Note that Pandora is not a part of this ranking.)

Pandora instituted its listening cap to temper its sound recording royalty expenditure. Since advertisers aren't paying as much for mobile ad impressions, the webcaster monetizes ad-supported mobile listening at a significantly lower rate than on desktop computers. Listeners who hit the cap can pay 99-cents to listen for the rest of the month, or purchase the Pandora One subscription to listen commercial-free (about $36 a year).

Apparently, a good number of listeners are doing exactly this. Pandora added more than 700-thousand new subscribers to its Pandora One service in its first quarter this year, up 114% to more than two-and-a-half million (and more net new subscribers in the quarter than in all of fiscal 2013) (see RAIN here). Pandora now also has the top-grossing "non-game" app in Apple's App Store (more here).

You can see Triton Digital's full April 2013 Webcast Metrics Top 20 rankers here. RAIN's coverage of the March 2013 ratings is here.

Musician in HuffPo: Neither Congress nor RIAA wants to tangle with NAB, so webcasters are punished

Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 11:50am

Writing about the Internet Radio Fairness Act, musician David Fagin points squarely at the "one-sided, unfair exemption terrestrial radio currently enjoys" on royalties, and says the solution is to "make them pay their fair share of performance royalties to artists and labels -- just as the rest of the radio-playing world has to do."

Fagin is also a writer and producer and former member of the band The Rosenbergs, and represented independent artists in webcasting copyright hearings in 2001.

In a piece for the Huffington Post, he suggests IRFA foes are really on the same side when it comes to wanting to artists to succeed and get paid, and on the matter of FM radio's royalty exemption. But the music industry and webcasters are stuck fighting each other, because neither has the power to fight broadcasters. 

"Congress is scared to go after big radio and their lobby, and the RIAA is 'just fine' with the status quo. In the meantime, both sides have decided to just kick each other's asses, instead."

(Interestingly, he holds that the current royalty situation is harming the webcasting industry, evidenced by the fact that just a single "brand-name" success exists, Pandora. He also cuts through the music industry anti-Pandora rhetoric: "The 'fleecing of artists'... argument makes no sense, whatsoever. Why would a company, whose main business model consists of promoting independent artists over 60% of the time, and is practically the only place to hear new music on a regular basis, want to destroy the very artists whose careers it's sustaining, and who are sustaining it?")

Interesting read, in Huffington Post, here.

Academic's math shows Pandora pays sound recording royalty at 10 times the rate of UK radio

Wednesday, December 12, 2012 - 12:10pm

We've heard (at the recent House Subcommittee hearing on the Internet Radio Fairness Act for one, but elsewhere too, and often) the recording industry:

  • doesn't like the amount of royalties streaming services pay to play copyright recordings, and wants more;
  • really doesn't like that U.S. broadcasters don't pay at all; but should, like the good folks of the non-U.S. broadcast world.

So, how much does, say, a UK radio broadcaster pay to play a copyright sound recording per listener, and how does that compare to other services, like Spotify or Pandora?

Enter David Touve (you may remember him as the Washington and Lee University Assistant Professor of Business Administration who estimated that U.S. broadcasters would owe the recording industry $2.5 billion a year if they were required to pay at the webcasting rate here).

Using data from PPL (which collects royalties from UK radio) and RAJAR (which measures listening), and estimating 12 songs per hour, Touve estimates "the value of a single radio play to a single listener in the UK for only that portion of the royalties that are paid to record labels, featured artists, and performing artists" is £0.000073, or $0.00012.

"For comparison, I believe the value estimated above is 1/36th the rate reported by Zoe Keating ($0.0042) [Touve's referring to this] for her receipts from streaming music services (e.g., Spotify), 1/10th the rate ($0.0011) paid by Pureplay Webcasters in the U.S. (e.g., Pandora), and 1/18th the CRB-established default Webcaster rate ($0.0021) in the U.S."

Put another way: Pandora currently -- under the settlement "discount" rate -- pays at a rate ten times what UK radio pays to perform sound recordings.

(The difference in audience size between Pandora and the broadcast industry of a country like the UK, much less the U.S., naturally means the recording industry's take from broadcasters will be much larger. But what Touve is putting in high relief is the discrepancy between the rates.)

Read Touve's latest Rockonomics blog entry here.

Broadcasters ignoring streaming, says Rhoads, pushing web listeners to better alternatives

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

Rhoads"Radio is foolishly ignoring streams today," writes Radio Ink publisher Eric Rhoads. "Streaming will be your primary source of revenue," he tells broadcasters in a new editorial, predicting that by 2016, "your transmitter will make up only a small percentage of your listening."

Rhoads sees broadcasters tripping over the same mistakes when it comes to streaming as they did with HD Radio: allocating minimal resources and trying to do things "at the lowest possible cost" with the least effort. The results are eerily similar: content that sounds "badly programmed" and feels like an "afterthought." Is it then any wonder "why HD Radio has not been embraced" by listeners, or why streaming audiences are smaller than they might be?

This "sloppy" approach imperils radio's future, Rhoads argues. "Radio must put its best foot forward in everything it does," he writes. "You have to sound great."

But it's not just a matter of improving stream quality. As a broadcaster, you must "be everywhere your listener is, which means on every device," because "the transmitter is no longer [radio's] only form of distribution" and it could be flat-out "irrelevant" in the future.

Radio Ink

"If you’re not streaming, don’t have a mobile app, are not on aggregators like TunedIn or iHeartRadio, if you cannot be found in every possible device, you’ll dilute the impact of your brand. If people want to listen and you’re not there, they will find someone else."

Rhoads concludes, "Ignoring [streaming] is ignoring millions of listeners, and they all have other alternatives."

You can find Rhoads' full post in Radio Ink here.

RAIN Summit Dallas will include an entire panel dedicated to issues like those discussed by Rhoads. The "Online Strategies for Local Broadcasters" panel will feature members of CBS Radio, Triton Digital, Emmis Digital, TargetSpot, Marketron and more. Click here to find out more.

Saga's streaming move prompts more feedback from Radio Ink's Ed Ryan, Abacast's Rob Green

Monday, August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

Radio InkLast week Saga announced it would no longer substitute "online only" content for the on-air ads on its station's web streams (RAIN coverage here). The move sparked criticism from Fred Jacobs, Ken Dardis and Bob Maccini among others (more here).

SagaNow Rob Green, CEO of Abacast (which offers ad-replacement technology for broadcasters among other services) has penned a guest editorial for Radio Ink (here). Green argues that "the radio industry today has, at best, a muddy message about its digital future, and the choice to simulcast looks like a step backward."

Meanwhile, Radio Ink editor Ed Ryan tried listening to a few random radio stations' simulcasts online. He posted the results of his experiment here. "Is the [online] product comparable to what goes out over the air?" The answer is easy, writes Ryan: "The products are not even close."

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