SiriusXM apparently drops stations; infuriates users

Monday, October 21, 2013 - 11:00am

SiriusXM appears to have modified its channel lineup on Sunday morning, to the acute displeasure of subscribers posting to the satellite company’s Facebook page. One ex-subscriber on the Facebook page who claimed to have canceled his membership remarked, “I’d rather use a crystal set in a thunderstorm” than continue receiving the service.

Affected channels noted in the comments include talk radio programs, Fox sports programming, and some terrestrial stations. RAIN has reached out to SiriusXM for information and comment; there was no response at the time of this post.

In August, RAIN and many other outlets reported that Clear Channel stations might disappear from SiriusXM, corresponding to Clear Channel’s divestment of SiriusXM stock. Indeed, several of the Clear Channel stations mentioned in that reporting (WHTZ/New York, WLTW/Chicago, WSIX/Nashville) do not appear today on the web listing of SiriusXM channels. Each of those stations is available on Clear Channel-owned iHeartRadio.

Likewise, station numbers corresponding to missing talk stations mourned by Facebook commenters do not appear on the channel list.

RAIN will follow up as additional information becomes available. Follow us on @RAINtwitter.

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Friday, June 14, 2013 - 12:15pm

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How would radio and webcasters fare when Google and Apple barrel into streaming?

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:45pm

Make way for the big boys.

"Companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are eyeing the streaming and on-demand music business now dominated by smaller niche companies such as Pandora and Spotify. When they do -- and most analysts agree it's really just a matter of time -- they could give nearly everyone the ability to listen to whatever they want, whenever they want -- and mostly for free," wrote San Jose Mercury News' Heather Somerville yesterday.

If true, this brings up a whole host of issues, some of which Somerville explores, like the impact on artists, consumers' relationship with music, and others. But where does it leave Internet radio: both pureplays like Pandora, and music broadcasters who'll rely more and more on digital efforts to grow? Smaller companies will have to become even more creative and agile to offer a value proposition the larger companies can't -- a sort of "boutique" existence, catering to niche and local audiences. 

"There is no doubt that when companies this large enter into the field, it will be disruptive," Jonathan Handel, a media and entertainment attorney, told the paper.

Read more here.

New Twitter iOS app will personalize music stream based on user's "follower graph"

Thursday, March 14, 2013 - 1:10pm

Various news sources (CNet was first) are reporting that Twitter is building a mobile streaming music application for Apple devices, also involving SoundCloud. The new Twitter music app would suggest music to users based on use data it gathers ("based on a user's follower graph -- artists they are following, and artists that other people they follow are following," says CNet), using tech from music discovery service We Are Hunted (which Twitter acquired). The app could be released on iOS by the end of this month.

Meanwhile, following Pandora's announcement of CEO Joseph Kennedy's imminent departure (reported in RAIN here), a Motley Fool blogger says there are rumors of web giants Facebook or Google buying Pandora, and writes that acquiring the Net radio leader could make sense for either company. 

"(Facebook) has... expanded its reach with a new search tool, news feed, gift offering and pay-for-post feature. It continues to try to find ways to keep users engaged and online longer. A tailored radio station would do just that," the post reads. "Meanwhile Google, is always on the prowl and constantly looking to one-up rivals Apple and Facebook. The search giant could tune into Pandora first for no other reason than to keep it from Apple and Facebook."

More on Twitter, Apple, and SoundCloud here; more on Pandora, Facebook, and Google here.

Mobile ad spending in U.S. may top $4B this year

Thursday, December 20, 2012 - 12:45pm

According to eMarketer, U.S. mobile ad spending is growing faster than previously expected.

The news source predicts overall mobile ad spending in the U.S. to top $4 billion this year (180% growth), $7.19 billion next year, and over $20 billion by 2016.

EMarketer says this year's unexpected growth is "due in large part to the success of so-called 'native' ad formats like Facebook's mobile newsfeed ads and Twitter's Promoted Products.

"These products represent a seamless experience across platforms for consumers—which means platform owners are able to successfully earn (or, in some cases, not lose) revenue as consumers continue to increase time spent on mobile devices with smaller screens unsuited to the bulk of desktop display advertising inventory."

Read more from eMarketer here.

Pandora addresses growing competition and need to bump mobile ad revs with comprehensive app redesign

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 10:00am

Leading webcaster Pandora late yesterday announced the relaunch of its mobile apps for Apple's iPhone and iPod Touch (but reportedly not the iPad) and Google Android smartphones. The company says its "Pandora 4.0" is the most significant and comprehensive redesign of the applications since their first launch on the mobile platforms.

Undoubtedly, with the majority of Pandora's listening now coming from mobile devices, the company sees the need to both (a) offer mobile users the full functionality of the service, and (b) monetize mobile listening at a rate in line with web listening.

San Jose Mercury News tech blog SiliconValley.com describes the redesign as "essentially bringing the features of its website to users of its apps." The blog suggests Pandora's need to ramp up mobile advertising dollars was a main force behind the redesign.

For the launch Pandora has brought on four major advertisers as sponsors of "tips and information" inside the redesigned apps: McDonald's, Nike, Sony Pictures, and State Farm. SiliconValley.com reports that these sponsors will launch mobile ad campaigns to appear in the apps' new social features in the coming weeks.

Interestingly, TechCrunch characterizes the app redesign more as a "competitive" move, with a view of quickly "locking in" listeners as Spotify gains visibility in the U.S., and with a possible Apple entrance into the Internet radio market.

Over 75% of Pandora's 3.3 billion listening hours in the quarter ending July came from mobile -- nearly double the amount from a year earlier. Pandora says more than 115 million of its 175 million registered users have listened on a smartphone, and that "over 1 in 3 smartphone users in the U.S. have listened to Pandora in the past month." Pandora will further increase its mobile footprint next year when Microsoft makes the service available on the new Windows Phone 8, with one year of ad-free use.

Pandora's mobile ad revenues aren't dismal, by any means. Over half (55%) of its ad income now comes from mobile. "That worked out to $100 million in 2012, putting it second to Google in terms of mobile ads," writes TechCrunch. SiliconValley.com writes, "revenue from mobile ads was up 86% at $59 million in the last quarter."

But by enhancing the usability of the app, and increasing the value of interacting with it, it's clear that the value of any advertising that accompanies it is also increased.

App users will get access to many features of Pandora's website for the first time. Pandora's page described the new apps reveals they've simplified the navigation and controls for listeners.

A favorite on the web, dedicated artist pages, are now available via mobile. Listeners can now see their own personal music profile, with a detailed timeline of their listening (stations created, bookmarked tracks, ratings history), and they can share that profile via social media, or keep it private.

Taking a cue from the Facebook timeline, the "music activity feed" is now part of the app as well. Listeners can find and follow their friends and see what music they're enjoying, or explore similar listeners' play history. And the apps offer "instant sharing:" for the first time on mobile devices Pandora listeners can share links to their favorite stations and tracks on Facebook, Twitter, or among their Pandora friends.

The Pandora 4.0 app for iOS is available in Apple's AppStore now. The app for Android smartphones will be available from Google in the next few weeks.

See the new app enhancements here. Read CTO Tom Conrad's comments in the Pandora blog here. Pandora's press release is here. Read more from SiliconValley.com here and TechCrunch here. Read more on Pandora on Windows Phone 8 here.

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