New law would untangle web of EU's 250 royalty collection agencies

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 12:25pm

The EU's governing body yesterday introduced legislation designed to strengthen the European digital music market by streamlining how copyright royalties are collected.

Though nation members of the European Union act together on a wide span of issues, each nation has its own set of agencies that administer composition, publishing, sound recording, and mechanical copyrights for music -- 250 collecting societies in the 27 EU member states alone.

The result is that digital music companies (for instance, leading webcaster Pandora) are forced to negotiate individual agreements with each of these bodies for each country in which they'd like to operate. In the end, for most operators, it's too complex and expensive, and so instead they simply block listening in countries with which they have not forged agreements (and why Pandora isn't legally available in Europe). [See our related coverage about Pandora in Australia and New Zealand here.]

The current situation, the European Commission says, limits consumers' choices, hurts those who hold music copyrights, and promotes unauthorized music sharing. Though the Commission passed legislation in 2008 for "pan-European" licenses and to break down the national barriers it felt held back the growth of digital music, it was ineffective. 

Read more in The New York Times here.

New NBC Sports Radio Network to offer content on digital platforms

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 - 11:35am

The NBC Sports Group and Dial Global have announced their partnership to launch the NBC Sports Radio Network in September, featuring hourly sports news updates and full-length shows.

In addition to distribution to terrestrial broadcasters, the NBC Sports Network will stream live shows via,, and affiliate stations' websites. The network will also offer On-demand short-form audio content (via podcast, for example).

Dial Global will be the exclusive ad and affiliate sales rep for the network.

Earlier this year, NBC News partnered with Dial Global to create NBC News Radio.

The Atlantic: Established media see the key to their survival online

Friday, April 20, 2012 - 11:15am

"These days, even the stalwarts of traditional media make themselves available on call, on screens of all sizes, and in evolving ecosystems of free and paid versions," writes Peter Osnos in The Atlantic. "What were once simply great newspapers, magazines, television, and radio are now websites with all the trappings, and that's where the audiences seem to be headed in droves."

The nation's most-established and traditional sources of news have all made very significant investments in digital distribution: online video, blogs, photo galleries, podcasting, mobile applications, widgets, and more.

"Major public radio stations, such as WNYC in New York, WBUR in Boston, and WBEZ in Chicago, have also turned their websites into bastions of multimedia to build their audience share."

What of social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)? While "not yet the moneymaker forecasted for it," it is useful to spread "the word for those digital products that are generating cash."

Read "Even Old Media Institutions Are Acting Like New Media" in The Atlantic online here.

"Digital Natives" switch between devices and channels every 2 minutes, finds study

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 11:10am

Devices galoreConsumers who grew up with mobile technology switch between devices and media platforms once every two minutes. That's according to a new study from Time Inc. called "A Biometric Day in the Life."

Basically, these "Digital Natives" (as the report dubs younger consumers) "frequently use media to regulate their mood -- as soon as they grow tired or bored, they turn their attention to something new." That could be switching to a different device (smartphone to TV), or switching between "channels" witin a single device (like app to app within a tablet). 

The study found that "Digital Natives" subsequently can follow "stories" in a non-linear fashion. They can "pick up different pieces of a story from different mediums in any order." That's directly opposed to "Digital Immigrants" (those who learned about mobile technology in their adult lives), who want to consume stories in a linear -- beginning, middle, end -- fashion.

"In order to keep Digital Natives engaged," said Betsy Frank, Chief Research and Insights Officer for Time Inc., "content creators and marketers will need to think differently. Grabbing them from the beginning is essential, as is content they can snack on and offering multiple access points to every story."

You can find Time, Inc.'s press release here.

Radio Ink's Rhoads says Haley, a champion for digital, left RAB out of frustration

Thursday, April 5, 2012 - 11:45am

Radio Ink publisher Eric Rhoads (pictured) blogged yesterday on the passing of the torch at the Radio Advertising Bureau from (newly-appointed Marketron CEO) Jeff Haley to (former publisher-CEO of Radio & Records) Erica Farber. His point: Haley left out of frustration at a radio industry unwilling or unable to come to grips with the reality of a digital future.

Rhoads remembers hearing Haley comment at the Convergence radio conference last year: "It's a shame that the entire industry is not here to hear the importance of bridging the digital world and radio. This is probably the most important thing they could attend, and yet only the early adopters are here."

With digital as Haley's primary initiative for radio, Rhoads pins Haley's frustration on the radio industry's "deep resistance to change." Rhoads writes, "We are in an industry under attack. Sadly, many of you are still running FotoMats in the age of digital cameras. And many don't know what they don't know. Unless we as an industry, at every level, invest deeply in this digital mission Jeff Haley was pushing, we will be left in the dust."

Eric Rhoads' blog is worth a read, here. Also, for more on Marketron naming Jeff Haley president and CEO, click here. Finally, the Radio Ink Convergence event is June 4 & 5 in Silicon Valley. More info here.

Digital revenues, including performance royalties, pushed U.S. record industry into the black in 2011

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 11:55am

Significant growth of digital performance royalties, music subscriptions, and download sales pushed U.S. record industry revenues into positive territory in 2011 for the first time since 2004, the RIAA reports.

SoundExchange distributed $292 million in digital performance royalties (the fees webcasters and satellite radio pay to play copyright recordings) to labels and performers last year, an increase of 17% over 2010.

Music subscription services (e.g. Spotify) paid the industry $241 million in 2011, 13% more than in 2010.

And digital downloads accounted for $2.6 billion, up 17% from the prior year. For the first time ever in a a single year, digital album sales topped 100 million digital albums. In fact, the 9.2% overall digital sales growth offset the decline in physical decrease of 7.7%.

"Overall, digital formats comprised slightly above 50% of total music shipments in the United States, as digital became more than half the market for the first time ever," the RIAA press release reads. "No longer just a niche, digital music has shown it can be a model - or perhaps more accurately a variety of models - for the music industry going forward." Read it here.

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