funding

Net radio aggregator TuneIn reports over a billion hours of listening in year's first four months

Wednesday, May 29, 2013 - 12:45pm

Streaming aggregator/tuning service TuneIn has raised $25 million in financing from groups including Google Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and General Catalyst Partners.

TuneIn CEO John Donham will use the funding to "focus on growing ad revenues for our broadcast partners."

Internet radio listeners streamed over a billion hours of content via TuneIn this year through April.

The company's most recent feature roll-out is "TuneIn Live," which provides listeners relevant stations and podcasts based on their tastes or listening habits (see RAIN coverage here).

The funding was led by Institutional Venture Partners, which will place general partner Jules Maltz on TuneIn's board.

Songza tells press it has "significantly more" than 2 million active listeners

Tuesday, April 16, 2013 - 3:20pm

Webcaster Songza now has $3.8 million more to build their business, following their latest round of funding. TechCrunch reported Sunday on the relevant SEC filing, and that Amazon is an "unconfirmed investor."

Songza is the service that offers different channels of music based on listeners' activities, moods, and time of day (a feature that Clear Channel pretty much copied with its "Perfect For" iHeartRadio feature it added in January). The service was launched by the team behind AmieStreet.com ("crowd-priced" MP3s), of which Amazon was an investor. 

Billboard says last June Pandora stocks "dropped 11.2% over two trading days shedding some $208 million of market value after BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield warned in a blog post that Pandora investors should be worried by the sudden rise of Songza." By July, Songza reportedly had 2 million active listeners, but CEO/cofounder Elias Roman tells Billboard that number is now significantly higher.

In August, investors put $1.5 million into Songza. Other recent successful webcaster investment rounds (from Billboard) include Earbits, Radical.fm, Senzari ($3 million), and TuneIn ($16 million).

Read more from TechCrunch here. The SEC document is here. Here's Billboard's coverage.

Jelli secures $9M in funds; listening and ad impressions surge

Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 6:45pm

Jelli announced yesterday the closing of a $9 million funding round.

Additionally, the company announced a 250% increase in listeners over the past year, to approximately 2 million listeners per month (via more than 70 U.S. affiliates). Total ad impressions served by the Jelli Platform also went up more than 500% in the past year, topping 60 million per month.

"Jelli is a social radio platform that combines group listening with game mechanics... Listeners take over the broadcast by voting for the songs they want to hear in real-time. Listeners engage with other users in live chat rooms and through Facebook. Jelli's cloud-based platform broadcasts this user-controlled programming in realtime on air on terrestrial FM radio stations across the United States. Jelli's platform also serves terrestrial radio spots on air."

The company says the new funding will go towards product development and sales growth. The round was led by new investors Intel Capital and Relay Ventures (which have received seats on the company's board of directors), with participation from existing investor First Round Capital and individual investors including Roger Ames, former chairman of EMI Music.

One month in, CBC's online music service facing funding, royalty, and content pressures

Friday, March 30, 2012 - 12:15pm

Just a month after the launch of the Canadian Broadcast Company's brand new online music service, CBC Music (you can see our coverage of it here), the service is facing the pressures of cuts in its funding, calls from songwriters and publishers for higher royalties, and from artists questioning the CBC's dedication to Canadian art.

Canada's government has announced its new budget, which slashes CBC funding 10% -- dropping more than $100 million of its $1.16 billion -- which a Spinner.com article suggests "will no doubt have a tremendous effect" on CBC Music.

Meanwhile, the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN) is calling to revisit CBC's "flat-rate" royalties deal. Commercial radio and other online services in Canada pay royalties "per-song;" as it technically doesn't earn any profits, the CBC gets the flat rate. SOCAN argues the sheer volume of music CBC is offering for free makes a flat fee unrealistic. Some artists and competitors agree.

"As there is a new format [live-streaming] and the CBC is currently paying a nominal fee, it only seems fair that a new rate be negotiated," said singer-songwriter Jim Cuddy. "What concerns private industry is that in the face of massive cutbacks CBC sees fit to launch a new service that won’t generate meaningful revenue," said Rob Braide, of Stingray (more in RAIN here), a commercial webcaster.

Read more about SOCAN's calls for new royalty terms in the Globe and Mail here.

Finally, while Canada's "CanCon" law requires broadcasters to play at least 35% Canadian-produced content, this doesn't apply to online programming, including the CBC's new service. "Therefore (there is) no requirement to direct that percentage of overall royalties to the Canadian music industry... even though CBC Music uses tax dollars for its royalty payments," writes Spinner.com. While some maintain the mandate of the CBC itself ensures its relevance to Canada's people and music, some would like a content requirement formalized for online.

"We come at everything with a Canadian perspective and the focus is much more heavily Canadian than it would be on most surfaces," CBC spokesperson Steve Pratt explains.

But artist Paul Banwatt disagrees: "The whole point of CanCon is the recognition that we're a small population and we want to make sure that our voices, with distinctly Canadian things to say, aren't drowned out. Cultural expression crosses borders more easily now than ever, so you would think the need for protection is at its height."

Read more from Spinner.com here.

Customizable talk radio service Stitcher raises $10m in new funding

Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 12:00am

Stitcher's iPad appSan Francisco-based Stitcher -- "the Pandora of Internet talk radio," as GigaOM describes it -- has raised $10 million in new funding. The company's CEO, Noah Shanok, says they will use the new investment to build a direct ad sales team, add enhancements for service providers and generally improve their service.

Stitcher allows users to create personalized talk radio stations. GigaOM reports (here) that the company has 3.4 million users.

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