Internet radio

Parties announce settlement on online "mechanical" royalties; doesn't apply to Internet radio

Thursday, April 12, 2012 - 11:40am

Representatives of the music industry (labels and publishers) announced yesterday the settlement of a Copyright Royalty Board proceeding for "Section 115," or "mechanical" royalties digital music services pay to reproduce a musical work (read more in The Wall Street Journal here).

It is important to note that these are not the "public performance" royalties webcasters pay SoundExchange for the use of copyright sound recordings. Also known as "Section 114" royalties, those rates will be set with a proceeding beginning in 2014 (to settle by late in 2015) for the period from 2016-2020," explains industry attorney David Oxenford in Broadcast Law Blog.

Yesterday's settlement involves digital music services's use of music outside of "non-interactive" webcasting: sales of digital downloads, ringtones, on-demand streaming, "cloud" services, and "conditional" downloads (e.g. listening to Spotify offline).

Moreover, "mechanical royalties" are "payments made to the composers of songs -- those who write the words and music of the songs -- usually represented by a publishing company," Oxenford (pictured) explains.

By the way, satellite radio provider SiriusXM, like Internet radio, also pays Section 114 royalties. They're currently in a rate-setting proceeding for the 2013-2017 term. Oxenford predicts a decision in that case by the end of this year, "which could give some preview of what webcasters can expect in their upcoming case." Read more from Oxenford in Broadcast Law Blog here.

David Oxenford is a Washington, D.C.-based partner at Davis Wright Tremaine, and an expert on broadcast and Internet radio law and royalty matters. He'll sit down for a one-on-one discussion with U.S. Copyright Office general counsel David Carson on Sunday at RAIN Summit West in Las Vegas. More information, and the registration link, is here.

Arbitron, Edison report "largest year-over-year jump" in weekly Net radio usage they've yet seen

Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 11:40am

Two weeks ago Edison Research and Arbitron announced they'd found weekly Internet radio listening grew 30% during 2011 (see our coverage here), and that 29% of 12+ Americans (76 million) now listen to Internet radio weekly, for an average of almost ten hours a week. Yesterday the companies officially released the study from which that finding comes, "The Infinite Dial 2012: Navigating Digital Platforms."

"We’ve been tracking the usage of online radio in this series since 1998, and this year’s increase in weekly usage is the largest year-over-year jump we’ve ever recorded," said Bill Rose, Arbitron SVP/Marketing.  Edison Research VP/Strategy and Marketing Tom Webster added "The jump in weekly online radio usage is remarkable, but really a trailing variable to the rise in smartphone penetration, which has enabled much of that growth."

As always (this is the 20th edition of the study), the researchers looked at cellphone/smartphone penetration and use, other portable digital media devices, overall Internet usage, online video, and social media. 

A few points of interest to the Internet radio industry:

  • 39% of Americans 12+ (103 million) have listened to Internet radio in the last month.
  • 17% of cell phone owners report listening to Internet radio in their cars by connecting their phones to their car stereo, a 50% increase in the past year.
  • Smartphone ownership has tripled in the last two years. 44% of all 12+ Americans own a smartphone, which is half of all cell phone owners.
  • A third of at-work radio listening is done on a computer or mobile device. 12% of smartphone owners listen to online radio "several times per day" or more.
  • "Heavy" Internet and radio users are more likely to be employed full-time.

Read more from Edison Research and Arbitron here, and see all the research presentation slides here.

Exiles use Internet radio to deliver news in and out of Syria

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 - 12:05pm

A pair of exiled Syrian siblings -- one a creative director from a small marketing company, the other a former radio morning host -- have launched New Start Radio, an Internet radio service, to air reporting from citizens journalists in their home country.

Thousands of Syrians have died at the hands of the government, as that country's brutal regime cracks down on protesters demanding democratic reform.

NPR spoke with Rania (the radio professional), whose aim is to get news to Syrians both outside and inside the country. (State-controlled media there say there are no protest, and thus no crackdown -- only retaliation against terrorism). But getting an uncensored Internet connection can be hard in Syria, and the station hopes to increase their coverage by setting up broadcast towers across the border in Turkey and Jordan (who've tentatively, though not yet officially, agreed to allow this).

Read more, and listen to the audio, from NPR here.

UK net radio device maker Roth adds colors to its K Radio line

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - 11:25am

This sure caught our eye!

It's the Roth K Radio, with an FM receiver, Internet radio tuning (through wifi or ethernet), DAB (digital radio), and an iPhone dock.

The Roth K Radio isn't new, and it isn't even available in the U.S. But they just rolled out this new line of colors for the unit, and we couldn't resist adding this picture to today's issue.

Maybe the next time we're in the UK, we'll snag one!

See more on the Roth K here.

$99 dollars (in China) gets you a wireless Internet radio/TV device

Friday, March 23, 2012 - 11:55am

It may not be much for looks, but the Fulljoin NMP001 is a wireless Internet radio receiver (plus it can play your music collection) for under a hundred bucks.

"Running on a variant of Linux, the manufacturers claim that this little device is able to tune in to more than 20,000 radio stations and 2,000 TV channels over the Internet," reports UberGizmo. But with a 2.4" display, your television viewing will likely be limited (there's no "video out" functionality).

Looks like it's only officially available in China, too, but check it out here. UberGizmo's coverage is here.

Pandora (like AM/FM, for that matter) competes for listening with a wide array of other audio options, says study

Monday, March 12, 2012 - 11:35am

Radio researcher Mark Kasoff conducted a survey a Pandora listeners recently, to find what they'd substitute for it if it weren't available. In other words, if Pandora's site was down, how would its fans get their music fix?

Kassof's team found that terrestrial radio -- while nearer the top of a list of alternate sources of audio entertainment (49% of respondents mentioned it) -- was "not the clear alternative choice for Pandora listeners…it’s just one of many." That's because just as many (or more) Pandora partisans said they'd listen to "iPod/MP3 player" and "laptop/computer" (we're assuming these both could be taken to mean "personal music collection" or possibly "other streaming outlets" (including on-demand services). YouTube was also among the top responses.

Kassof's conclusion: "Pandora has at least as much in common with iPods and other music-only sources as it does with radio... probably more! The best strategy for radio is to do what Pandora and the others can’t – connect with listeners on a personal and emotional level."

Read Kassof's entry in his ListenerThink blog here.

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