Internet Radio Fairness Act's final result will have "huge impact on radio's future," says tech blog

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 - 12:05pm

Among tech blog ReadWrite's "The 5 Most Pivotal Moments for Digital Music in 2012": the introduction of the Internet Radio Fairness Act [We covered this extensively in 2012.].

The Internet Radio Fairness Act (IRFA), among other measures, would require Copyright Royalty Judges, when determining royalties for web radio, to use the same legal standard (known as 801(b)) they use for satellite radio and cable radio royalties. Under current law, CRB judges are instructed to try to set royalties at a "fair market value," using a legal standard known as "willing buyer willing seller." This has led to the current state of affairs in which webcasters like Pandora pay many times the royalty of other types of digital radio when expressed as a percentage of revenue.

"Whatever happens with the IRFA as it was originally drafted (many predict its demise), something needs to give, and that something will have to balance the need for innovation with the rights of those who create music for a living," says ReadWrite. "The end result of the debate that kicked off in 2012 will have a huge impact on radio's future."

See all 5 of ReadWrite's "Most Pivotal Moments" here.

ReadWriteWeb: Podcasts have not changed radio the way blogs have changed print

Monday, August 13, 2012 - 1:50pm

Podcasts"Far from changing the radio landscape, podcasting has been commandeered by the radio industry." So argues Richard MacManus in a post for ReadWriteWeb (here).

He points out that the majority of top podcasts are from radio companies like NPR or ESPN, while even podcasting superstars like Leo Laporte have not "changed the radio landscape... Unlike blogs, podcasts by indie voices have not gone on to seriously challenge the mainstream media incumbents."

But, MacManus continues in a follow-up post (here), "maybe it doesn't need to... podcasts can complement mainstream media."

ReadWriteWeb: As automated as music recommendations get, there'll always be a need for "human intervention"

Friday, June 29, 2012 - 11:45am

Computer musicComputer algorithms and automated services are currently "the dominant approach" for web radio music recommendation and discovery services, writes ReadWriteWeb. To some extent, Pandora, and The Echo Nest (along with the services it powers, like iHeartRadio) all take this approach.

"But they're by no means perfect," argues ReadWriteWeb. "We still need human brains to do some of the listening and interpretation that goes into music recommendations. That's why Pandora's algorithm works so well and why Songza has such promise. Both services, to varying degrees, rely on human intervention to help curate and cross-reference songs."

The article points to Spotify's app selections as a good example: it offers automated services from and MoodAgent, as well as curated apps from Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and others.

"Algorithms and APIs can do amazing things. But at the end of the day, determining what music - as well as art, movies, books and other media - people will like still requires human beings with real ears connected to real brains. The future of music discovery will rely on both."

You can find ReadWriteWeb's article here.

ReadWriteWeb: 2011 web music trends include recommendations services, cloud music and group listening

Thursday, December 1, 2011 - 11:00am

Turntable.fmCloud music, recommendation engines and group listening. Those are just a few of the big online music trends of 2011, according to a new ReadWriteWeb article.

The year was good for algorithm-powered Internet radio services, with Pandora going public in February and the Echo Nest fueling new music services like iHeartRadio.

"As powerful as these machine-driven recommendation engines can be, there's still something to be said for human curation," writes ReadWriteWeb, pointing out that human-curated music services like (pictured) and gained in popularity during the year. drove another 2011 web music trend, one that harkens back to AM/FM: group listening, where many users hear the same music at once. Meanwhile, Facebook forcefully introduced social features to streaming services while giant tech companies pushed music into the cloud.

You can find ReadWriteWeb's full analysis of the biggest Internet music trends of 2011 here.

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