Clear Channel announces new on-air/streaming royalties deal with music group

Thursday, December 6, 2012 - 1:25pm

Clear Channel has forged another music rights deal that likely trades a small payment for on-air play for a discount (or waiver) for online streaming.

Broadcasters aren't required to pay royalties to the owners of sound recording copyrights for on-air play -- but do pay owners and performers for online plays. The music industry has long bemoaned radio's sound performance royalty exemption.

Back to last week's Internet Radio Fairness Act House Judiciary subcommittee hearing (here's audio of it)... Hubbard Radio President/CEO Bruce Reese (who also represented the National Association of Broadcasters) was pressed repeatedly on this topic (our coverage is here). Reese responded by saying he would look for more deals in the marketplace that would get copyright owners paid. He was nearly certainly referring to arrangements that Clear Channel has struck this year with copyright owners like Big Machine Label Group, Glassnote Entertainment Group, and Naxos.

Clear Channel today adds to that list, and announced an agreement with DashGo, Inc. "a digital content distribution and marketing engine for labels, podcasters, and artists." Like the prior agreements, Clear Channel described the deal as an "agreement that will help drive growth and innovation in Internet radio. As part of this new relationship, DashGo will share in Clear Channel’s terrestrial broadcast revenues, aligning the business interests of both companies and helping to build a sustainable market in Internet radio."

DashGo represents over 100 label and artist partners (Weezer (pictured), Rock Mafia, Coconut Records, Delicious Vinyl, and Time Records) and approximately 100,000 songs.

Pittman wants to make advertisers and younger listeners interested in radio again

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 12:05pm

The Wall Street Journal profiles Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman, who's taken on the task of making radio "cool again."

"Mr. Pittman sees his challenge as shaking off radio's fusty image and winning back advertisers who left for other media," writes The Journal.

Naturally, for the executive largely credited with Clear Channel's iHeartRadio initiative, "another challenge is locking in a new generation."

The Journal writes, "Building a digital footprint is crucial. Digital commands just 4% of radio advertising but it is fast growing. Mr. Pittman's plan is to make Clear Channel's stations available free on as many platforms as possible. Clear Channel ranks second among domestic online audio networks, according to Triton Digital, but it is dwarfed by Pandora, albeit in a slightly different business. (Pandora offers a personalized music service, a feature Clear Channel added just last year.)"

Find The Wall Street Journal's Pittman piece online here.

New Clear Channel SVP of Digital Jerrell Jimerson to oversee iHeartRadio, station websites

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 11:55am

Clear Channel has named Jerrell Jimerson Senior Vice President of Product for Digital. Jimerson will "oversee the roadmap, product definition and design" for iHeartRadio, the company's digital radio service, and all Clear Channel radio station and personality websites. He'll manage the iHeartRadio Product team, and will work with the Digital team to expand the platform and deploy new offerings.

Jimerson's more than 20 years of experience and product development background include his tenure as President/CEO of Songbird. He previously served as an "Entrepreneur in Residence" at Sigma Partners; VP/GM of Consumer, Credit, Mobile & New Ventures at PayPal; and VP of Broadband, Consumer Services and Digital Home at Yahoo! He's also held product and general management positions at Apple, Netscape, and AOL.

Jimerson will report to Brian Lakamp, President of Digital at Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, effective immediately.

Clear Channel touts digital growth on earnings call; iHeart customizable radio to remain ad-free for time-being

Wednesday, February 22, 2012 - 1:00pm

The manner in which Clear Channel dealt with its digital business on yesterday's earnings call should come as no surprise to anyone who's been listening to CEO Bob Pittman lately (see RAIN here). Radio-Info reports today that Clear Channel CFO Tom Casey began the call "by talking about iHeartRadio app and last September’s successful iHeartRadio Music Festival... Casey talked frequently about digital initiatives and investments, both around the radio platform and at Clear Channel Outdoor. (The hottest thing going in out-of-home advertising is digital displays.) And digital seems to be the growth engine, as you can see from the Fourth Quarter results..."

Casey told investors digital ad (streaming and display) revenue is “growing nicely,” Taylor reports. And this mirrors the industry overall (see yesterday's coverage of RAB's revenue report here). However, the customizable feature of the company's iHeartRadio service -- the company's answer to Pandora -- has been commercial-free since its launch, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. The apparent thinking is about building usage, and not jeopardizing early adoption with an overload of ads. 

"Casey said the company was getting great feedback from listeners, is not monetizing iHeartradio and has no plan to do so right now," Radio Ink writes today. Casey reported 48 million downloads of the iHeartradio app in 2011, and 37 million monthly uniques from all the company's digital products and brands.

Read more in Radio-Info here; more in Radio Ink here.

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