iHeartRadio builds app for new Logitech UE Smart Radio device

Wednesday, December 5, 2012 - 12:20pm

Clear Channel has announced its iHeartRadio Internet radio platform is now available on the Logitech UE Smart Radio device.

The UE Smart Radio is Logitech's replacement for the well-knows Squeezebox line. Like the Squeezebox, users can stream content from online radio stations, music services, and their music libraries over their home computer network.

IHeartRadio features streams from more than 1,500 broadcast radio stations, plus the user-generated "custom stations" (a la Pandora).

We have prior coverage of the UE Smart Radio here

Election season may have driven broadcasters' October streaming growth

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 - 1:00pm

The Webcast Metrics October Domestic Ranker shows top streaming broadcasters all posting low double-digit percentage AAS (average active sessions) growth in the past month. Pureplay webcasters showed either modest growth of were flat.

One theory is that this growth was spurred by increased interest in political radio in the lead up to the November federal elections.

Cox Radio AAS jumped 30% since September in the M-Su 6a-12M ranking, and NPR Member Stations were up 28% (in the case of NPR, this is likely attributable to new stations's addition to the measurement panel). Cox and Clear Channel are both showing healthy growth over the past 12 months (AAS up 50% for Cox, and 87% for Clear Channel) and in calendar-year 2012 (49% for Cox; 40% for Clear Channel). (Note: Last late year, Clear Channel had just added other major broadcasters' streams to iHeartRadio, like Cumulus').

Pandora continued to pad to its enormous listening lead over the rest of the entire panel (Pandora's mere 3% increase in October represents a 40,742 AAS, which by itself is nearly twice the AAS of this ranker's current #6 webcaster). The leading webcaster is also up 35% this year.

Most other pureplay webcasters' performance wasn't nearly as impressive. Slacker is up 31% in the past 12 months, but that period began before it completely absorbed the AOL Radio streams. Note that former top pureplay webcasters 977Music.com and Digitally Imported are no longer in this ranking.

See the complete Triton Digital October Webcast Metrics report (with its cool new look) here. For comparison purposes, our coverage of the October 2011 rankings is here; and here for September 2012.

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio tops 135 million downloads, 20 million registered users

Monday, November 26, 2012 - 10:50pm

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment announced last week that its iHeartRadio mobile application has now been downloaded more than 135 million times.

Clear Channel says the iHeartRadio network attracts more than 48 million unique visitors a month.

The iHeartRadio platform offers both streams of Clear Channel's (and others') broadcast programming, and the service's "Custom Stations" -- listener-influenced radio available only on the app and online (similar to Pandora).

Clear Channel also reports iHeartRadio has more than 20 million registered users.

Like presidential opponents, royalty bill foes rail against "burdensome regulation" and "cheating the middle class"

Monday, November 5, 2012 - 12:05pm

An article in yesterday's New York Times likens the conflict over Internet radio royalties to the presidential race: business suffering under government-inflicted costs vs. wealthy industrialists cheating the middle class.

What the different players are saying sure makes the comparison apt.

Pandora founder Tim Westergren told journalist Ben Sisario, "This adversarial reaction toward Internet radio is counterproductive. It’s causing other businesses to sit on the sidelines, and that is hurting musicians. Ultimately, you want to have many boats in the harbor."

But MusicFirst Coalition, the record industry group that's the main face in the fight against proposed royalty reform, "says it believes that if Pandora gets everything it wants, it could cut its royalty bill by up to 85%," writes Sisario.

The Internet Radio Fairness Act, co-sponsored in the House of Representatives by Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz of Utah (more here), would require Copyright Judges who determine Internet radio's royalty rates to make their decisions using the "801(b)" standard of Copyright Law, instead of the controversial "willing buyer willing seller." Webcasters like Pandora support the bill, as all other forms of digital radio have their royalties set using 801(b). The music industry is firmly against the bill.

Westergren said, "No one has yet explained to us why Internet radio is under a different standard. No one responds to that fundamental premise."

Naturally, for RIAA CEO Cary Sherman, it's really a matter of companies like Pandora trying to cheat the "entire music community" out of "a fair return on the creative works that are the reason companies like Pandora exist."

Clear Channel CEO Bob Pittman is largely credited with making his company a major online radio force with its launch of the iHeartRadio platform. He says the record industry is wrong to focus on rates. With lower rates, more companies will stream more music, and lead to more income. "If the rate suppresses the volume, there’s less money. If it encourages volume, there’s more money."

Of everyone siding with Internet radio services, it was Rep. Chaffetz himself who stood out with a shot at the music industry establishment: "The old-school dinosaurs are trying to help, but they’re stuck in the tar. They can go talk to the pterodactyls."

Read the New York Times article here.

CC forges digital deal with third record label to secure more affordable online royalties

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 - 10:00am

Clear Channel Media and Entertainment has announced a deal with classical record label Naxos which, in all likelihood, involves the broadcaster paying royalties to the label for on-air play in exchange for a discount or waiver on online plays.

Clear Channel compared the agreement with its "groundbreaking agreements with Big Machine Label Group and Glassnote Records." While this new announcement contained no mention of royalties, both of those agreements involved the on-air/online royalty pact.

Sound recording copyright owners (in this case, the record label) is owed royalties when its music is streamed online, as by Internet radio. However, they can claim no such royalty when the same recordings are used on air by broadcasters.

Deals like this demonstrate that Clear Channel recognizes the growing importance of its both its online listening and the financial viability of streaming copyright music.

As mentioned, earlier this year Clear Channel forged similar arrangements with Big Machine Records (read more here) and Glassnote Entertainment (here). Broadcast group Entercom also agreed with Big Machine on such a deal (here).

Industry legal expert David Oxenford wrote that deals like this may have an effect favorable to webcasters in upcoming royalty rate determinations. He said:

"In setting (webcast royalty) rates, the (Copyright Royalty Board) looks to establish rates that reflect what a willing buyer and a willing seller pay in the marketplace. In past royalty proceedings, that willing-buyer, willing-seller price had to be estimated, as there were no real deals to use as a benchmark. And the estimates all went against webcasters. With a deal like that with Big Machine... the pro-record company outcome of the CRB proceedings may well be changed if these deals can be shown to be representative of the real value of the public performance of the sound recording." Read more here.

Several webcasters, broadcasters, and consumer electronics groups have joined the Internet Radio Fairness Coalition (see coverage here) with the intent to support new legislation (more here) that would remove the "willing buyer/willing seller" standard from rate determinations.

Also as part of Clear Channel's newly-announced deal, Naxos will program "Classica," the classical music channel on Clear Channel's online radio service iHeartRadio. The label boasts "one of the largest and fastest growing catalogues of unduplicated repertoire available anywhere—currently over 2,500 titles," including classical music CDs and DVDs as well other genres such as jazz, new age, educational and audiobooks.

Streaming aggegators TuneIn, iHeartRadio have new apps ready at today's Windows 8 launch

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 1:40pm

Both of Internet radio's leading stream aggregation services, TuneIn and iHeartRadio, have created specially-designed apps for Microsoft's brand new Windows 8 operating system.

Kristin George, Director of Product, TuneIn noted, "Not only did Windows 8 give us the canvas to create a beautiful interface that works with keyboard, mouse, and touch, but it also helped us showcase how TuneIn can easily deliver listeners’ favorite stations by providing the ability to pin them directly to their Start screen."

"iHeartRadio worked closely with Microsoft during the Windows 8 preview phase to develop the app to be available across a broad range of Windows 8 devices," read the iHeartRadio newsletter.

Both apps are available in the Windows 8 app store. Read more about Windows 8 here.

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