Internet radio

Seattle airport music initiative to include multi-channel web radio

Wednesday, February 1, 2012 - 11:00am

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport this week launched an initiative to promote the local music of the region to visitors called Experience the City of Music.

Included in the initiative are in-terminal music programming, safety announcements by superstars of Seattle music (Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Heart's Ann and Nancy Wilson, and Sir Mix-A-Lot), video programming profiling area musicians, and a six-channel Internet radio service (which visitors can enjoy on the airport's free Wi-Fi).

The project is a joint effort of the Port of Seattle, the Seattle Music Commission, and PlayNetwork (and, despite its name, doesn't seem to include the involvment of the EMP Museum, formerly the Experience Music Project, founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen).

Read more here and here. And to hear Eddie Vedder remind you to keep your carry-on luggage in your possession at all times, book a flight to Seattle!

Canadian rights agency AVLA strikes deal with CBC for on-demand service, and with webcaster Mediazoic

Thursday, January 26, 2012 - 8:00am

Canada's CBC and the international Audio-Video Licensing Agency have announced an agreement that will enable the launch of a new CBC digital music service. The broadcaster plans to increase the online availability of its radio programming, including via on-demand services

Meanwhile, AVLA has also forged a deal with Canadian webcaster and digital music company Mediazoic for "reproduction" rights. (For its webcasting operation, Mediazoic has an agreement with Re:Sound to cover performance rights. Re:Sound is Canada's non-profit that licenses recorded music for public performance, broadcast, and digital.) In addition to their own webcasting operation and record- and radio-production facility, Mediazoic creates software tools for third-party organizations who wish to offer their own customized Internet radio stations. Renowned personality Alan Cross is currently a Mediazoic host.

AVLA represents the copyrights of more than 1,000 record companies and copyright owners, including majors Warner Bros., Sony, and EMI. Mediacaster Magazine reports AVLA members "own or control the copyright to most of the sound recordings and music produced, distributed and heard in Canada. It can license both the broadcasting and reproduction of members' audio and video recordings in Canada...

"Both AVLA deals are seen as clever and imaginative business propositions, and among the first such negotiated collective licenses in Canada for on-line streaming and podcasting of radio and online digital music programming," Mediacaster writes.

Read Mediacasters' full coverage here.

The Dash puts smartphone directly in the dashboard, completely replacing your car stereo

Tuesday, January 24, 2012 - 9:00am

Instead of connecting your smartphone to your car's existing stereo system, a new product under development replaces the stereo with your smartphone.

The Dash is a two-part system. A standardized "Body" is installed in the car dashboard after removing the stereo. It is the power and brains of the system, feeding the audio to the speakers, and charging the phone. The other part, the "Faceplate," houses the smartphone itself, and will be interchangeable to accommodate different types of phones (the first one is made for the iPhone and iPod). The faceplate only has a volume control; all other controls are via apps on the phone itself.

The product isn't yet available, but there's a Kickstarter campaign to get it up and running. H/T to Eliot Van Buskirk at Evolver.fm.

 

10/6: Remembering Steve Jobs

Friday, December 23, 2011 - 11:00am

Yesterday Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, passed away. It's difficult to overstate Jobs' impact on the world -- from PCs to film to digital music and beyond. Today RAIN looks back at just some of the ways Jobs impacted Internet radio... (We came up with seven major products or services, though there were doubtless others. Read more here.)

 

While prohibitive licensing keeps Europe off-limits for most U.S. webcasters, it's a different story for on-demand start-ups

Monday, November 21, 2011 - 1:05pm

Former Live365 exec Rags Gupta suggests the reason we see on-demand music services starting-up in Europe (and not, say, Silicon Valley) is that it's simply easier to license the content there than in the U.S. As such, "investors in Europe aren’t as jaded when it comes to music startups as their U.S. counterparts," writes Gupta. "Index Ventures stands out in this regard. Bolstered by their success with Last.fm, they’ve added Songkick, SoundCloud, and RJDJ to their portfolio in recent years."

This apparent hospitality towards on-demand start-ups doesn't translate to Internet radio, unfortunately. Fragmented licensing regimes from country to country make it a virtually impossibly expensive and complex matter to license music separately for every country. This means many U.S. webcasters (e.g. Pandora) simply don't make their streams accessible outside the United States. 

Last.fm (purchased by CBS for $280 million) and Spotify (now with more than 2 million paying customers across the 8 countries in which it's available) are two obvious examples of music start-ups coming out of Europe. Another is French-based Deezer.

"The minute that I tell the major music labels that I am not interested in signing for rights to the U.S., the negotiations over terms become much, much easier," Deezer CEO Axel Dauchez recently told Reuters. The company apparently has no plans to launch in the United States. 

Read Gupta's piece in GigaOm here.

To compete with over-the-air radio, Pandora says it needs the same audience metrics

Monday, November 7, 2011 - 12:00pm

Pandora founder Tim Westergren, speaking to advertising executives last week, stressed the need for a "universal metric" to measure listening to both traditional, broadcast radio and Internet radio services like his own.

"It's really absurd there's not an apples-to-apples" comparison, he told a group of advertising professionals at agency Horizon Media. 

Pandora reported $176 million in ad revenues for its fiscal year ending July 31. Advertisers spent $17 billion on AM/FM radio advertising last year; and as Pandora says it now owns 4% of radio listening in the U.S., the webcaster obviously feels a bigger slice of that pie. 

In fact, this sounds like exactly what audience metrics firm Arbitron is working towards now. Over the past few months, Arbitron has revealed some of its plans for an integrated over-the-air and Internet radio measurement system (in RAIN here and also here). Towards these efforts, the company acquired Finnish mobile audience measurement and analytics firm Zokem Oy (see RAIN here) in July, then partnered with Belgian ad tech firm AdSwizz last month (in RAIN here). Arbitron EVP/COO Sean Creamer explained AdSwizz will, in fact, convert server-based streaming radio data (such as from webcasters) into traditional broadcast radio metrics like Average Quarter Hour, Time Spent Listening, and Cumulative Audience.

Without a platform-agnostic metric, Chief Revenue Officer John Trimble explained Pandora sales efforts involve "doing manual calculations to turn unique visitors and time spent into traditional-radio metrics such as average quarterly hour," reports. Read more here.

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