ESPN Digital Audio launch partner for new Abacast cloud-based ad-insertion

Friday, February 22, 2013 - 11:55am

ESPN Digital Audio is launching Abascast-powered "cloud-based ad-insertion," to target listeners of national broadcasts by device, location, age, and gender in real time.

An article in AdWeek reads, "Essentially, this means that during large radio broadcast events like last month's BCS Championship game, during which ESPN Radio hosted nearly 110,000 mobile audio streams, ESPN will be able to serve individual ads to each one of those listeners during live breaks."

The cloud-based ad-insertion can send different in-stream audio ads to different groups of listeners, like "all smartphone listeners," "all listeners in the top 20 DMAs that are on iPhones," "all male listeners in the 25-34 age range in a group of zip codes," "all listeners listening on the TuneIn player," and more.

ESPN Digital Audio senior manager Blair Cullen told Adweek: "It didn't make sense that we were targeting women with a lot of the ads that were running. Now, hundreds of thousands of people are going to get different ad breaks. You could be in the same car as your friend wearing different headsets, and you'll still be served a different ad than that person."

Last November (in RAIN here) Abacast announced it had been granted a "patent allowance" for "ad and song insertion." Earlier this month (in RAIN here) the company unveiled its "live stream song-skipping" technology.

Read more from AdWeek here. Abacast's press release is here.

Webcaster Songza comes to Canada; available on Sonos devices now too

Thursday, August 9, 2012 - 1:20pm

The webcast service Songza, known for its "music concierge" interface that offers playlists based on the time of day and your likely activities, launched in Canada this week. The free service is now available to Canadians on the Web, Apple and Android mobile, plus home streaming device Sonos (see below).

Though the Internet is a global marketplace, many webcast services aren't available outside their home country due to the difficulty in negotiating licensing with copyright owners around the world.

Songza worked with Canada's music licensing company Re:Sound to secure the necessary licenses to stream to a Canadian audience (an audience, by the way, with a significantly high broadband and smartphone penetration, as well as the relative lack of other streaming options).

Sonos owners (that includes those in the U.S. as well) can now access Songza on their devices, and "Songza's music concierge goes a step further so that you can choose a playlist based on rooms in your home."

By the way, Sonos has also announced availability of Amazon's new Cloud Player music storage service on the device.

CNN highlights young listeners who are choosing to "stream, not own music"

Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

Young music listener"Ninety percent of my friends stream music. To be honest, I haven't seen someone use iTunes in a really long time... The last time I bought a CD was probably in middle school, and I can't even remember what it was."

So said Sean Wilson, a 21-year-old resident of Atlanta, Georgia. He's one of the examples of what CNN calls "a looming sea change for the music industry," in which "more and more [college-age music fans] are choosing to stream music instead of downloading it."

"If I could reliably stream music for free to all of my portable devices I would use streaming sites exclusively," a 23-year-old said.'s Eliot Van Buskirk told CNN, "There is a certain relief with not having to own music. It is a lot of work."

CNN ponders (here), "the growth of music apps, online radio channels, and music-streaming platforms raise an even larger question: Do we really need to 'own' music anymore?"

Apple will stream music to iOS6 devices, pull plug on social music service

Friday, June 15, 2012 - 12:40pm

iTunes MatchApple's cloud music service iTunes Match was rumored to be a streaming service when it first debuted last year (RAIN coverage here). It turned out that iTunes Match simply played songs as they downloaded.

But in the beta for Apple's new iOS 6 (the new operating system for iPhones, iPod Touches and iPads), "iTunes Match has become a full-on streaming service," reports MacRumors (here). In fact, streaming is actually the default option for playing music stored in the cloud.

Meanwhile, Apple will reportedly shut down its music social network Ping in the next release of iTunes. "The service is a failure," writes All Things Digital. It launched in September 2010 (RAIN coverage here) and will likely fade away this fall. All Things Digital has more on the story, including analysis on why Ping flopped, right here.

Abacast announces cloud-based ad-insertion platform Clarity

Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 11:00am

Streaming software and services provider Abacast has unveiled what they've dubbed the "Clarity Digital Radio System," a cloud-based ad-insertion and trafficking platform.

Cloud computing generally means the necessary software and processing for clients is on a remote, centralized server, which has the benefits of reduced costs, and easier and faster maintenance, deployment and updating. Abacast CEO Rob Green said, "The use of a cloud-based platform will enable Abacast to quickly and continuously provide incremental value to our customers by focusing almost entirely on new features and functionality."

Clarity is part of a suite of Abacast online radio solutions which include ad-insertion and management, audience analytics, stream delivery, royalty reporting, and mobile and desktop players.

Google Music remains free for up to 20,000 song uploads

Thursday, November 17, 2011 - 11:00am

Google MusicGoogle yesterday unveiled an online music store to rival iTunes, while also opening its cloud music service to all U.S. users.

Google Music's cloud service -- first announced in May (RAIN coverage here) -- will remain free. It allows users to upload up to 20,000 songs and then stream them from Google Music's website or via Google's Music Android app.

Google also announced yesterday that 200 million Android devices have been activated worldwide.

Songs in Google's new music store range from 69 cents to $1.29. They are added instantly to the user's Google Music cloud library. The store includes 13 million tracks from EMI, Sony Music, Universal and 23 independent labels (Warner Music Group is notably missing).

Additionally, artists can use Google's Artist Hub to upload and sell their music through Google's store. The artist sets the price and Google takes a 30% share of each sale.

Earlier this week Apple launched its own cloud music service, iTunes Match (RAIN coverage here). Amazon also offers a cloud music service (more here).

You can find more coverage from the Washington Post here, CNet here and Google's blog here.

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