Rhapsody's Irwin says Pandora's, Spotify's "freemium" approach won't work

Wednesday, January 16, 2013 - 12:25pm

Rhapsody Intl. president Jon Irwin told Inc. magazine he doesn't think Pandora's and Spotify's "freemium" model  (that's when a basic version of a service is available free, but a subscription is charged for the full-feature version) is the way to go.

Inc. reports Irwin believes Spotify's (and Pandora's) strategy is to "build a big name and a big user base by giving away the store, then do an IPO and leave the shareholders to figure out if the service can make money." He says his company's strategy is in building partnerships with automakers, mobile providers, and consumer electronics manufacturers (which, of course, Spotify and Pandora have done with wider success). Rhapsody did, in fact, launch its app for the Roku set-top device this week (more here).

Spotify has 5 million paying subscribers, plus 15 million more who use the service free. Pandora says in December it had 67.1 million "active listeners" (the vast majority of whom listen free). Rhapsody, which doesn't offer free usage, has 1 million paying customers.

Irwin reportedly revealed to GigaOm his company's plans to expand into 16 more European countries (see RAIN here) in the coming months (Rhapsody is available in the UK and Germany under the Napster brand name).

Read more from Inc. here.

Music subscription players Rhapsody, Spotify, Rdio reportedly plan to enter new territories in 2013

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 - 1:15pm

Leading music subscription services are ramping up their global expansions.

GigaOm reports Rhapsody will launch in 16 additional European countries in the first half of this year (but didn't mention which). This is the first "proper international launch" for Rhapsody, which is in the UK and Germany by way of acquiring Napster, (the brand under which it operates in those nations).

Meanwhile, Rhapsody competitors Spotify and Rdio are both rumored to be entering the Japanese market in the coming months. Sony's Music Unlimited is currently Japanese music subscribers' only option. Spotify is in 20 countries worldwide, Rdio in 17.

Read more on the Rhapsody news in GigaOm here; more on Spotify and Rdio in Japan Daily Press here.

Chevy, TuneIn, Rhapsody, Ford announce CES in-dash deals; Livio demo's new FM Connect

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 - 12:10pm

Yet even more deals announced at CES this week to bring Internet radio to cars!

Chevrolet has added web radio tuning service TuneIn to its MyLink system to bring the app to MyLink-equipped Chevy Sonics and Sparks. The automaker demo'd the new feature at CES.

And we've mentioned Ford and its SYNC Applink system a few times today. The automaker announced it's adding streaming music service Rhapsody to more than a million Ford and Lincoln vehicles, via SYNC. This is Rhapsody's first full integration with an automaker. Last month (and thus, not related to CES), Spotify announced it would connect with fellow Swedish company Volvo for in-dash operability.

Finally, Livio demonstrated its new technology, called FM Connect, designed to allow in-car FM radio listeners to safely interact with FM broadcasters and sponsors from the dashboard via a Bluetooth-connected smartphone. Livio is reportedly exiting the car radio kit market.

Billboard top current music charts will start using data from select streaming services, as well as download sales

Friday, October 12, 2012 - 12:35pm

Billboard is now factoring streaming data and digital download sales into its rankings for major music charts. Billboard announced yesterday that rankings for five of its top current music charts will take into account plays on streaming services like Slacker, Spotify, Rhapsody, Muve, Rdio, and Xbox Music.

The 50-song charts will still include radio airplay data from Nielsen BDS. This is the same formula Billboard uses to create its "all-genre" Hot 100 songs ranking. The Billboard charts Hot Rock Songs, Hot Country Songs, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Latin Songs, and Rap Songs will now factor plays on select streaming services, as well as digital download sales tracked by Nielsen SoundScan.

Additionally, as Billboard explains, the new methodology "will reward crossover titles receiving airplay on a multitude of formats. With digital download sales and streaming data measuring popularity on the most inclusive scale possible, it is only just the radio portion of Billboard chart calculations that includes airplay from the entire spectrum of monitored formats."

"The way people consume music continues to evolve and as a result so do our genre charts, which now track the many new ways fans experience, listen to and buy music," says Silvio Pietroluongo, Billboard Director of Charts. "We're proud to be offering updated genre charts that better reflect the current music landscape..."

Leading Internet radio outlet Pandora wasn't specifically mentioned, but the press release does read "among others" when listing participating streamers.

Read more in Billboard here.

RAIN News in Brief: Pandora, MS/Rdio rumor, Rhapsody

Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 12:15am

Pandora has released its self-reported listening for September. Listeners spent 1.15 billion hours with the service (up 67% from last September, but slightly off from August's 1.16 billion (see August's numbers here)). Pandora says they now have 58.3 million "active" listeners (up 49% from September 2011; that number was 56.2 million in August 2012). Finally, Pandora reports its share of "total U.S. radio listening" for September was 6.53% (it was 6.30% in August, and 4.03% in September 2011).

Meanwhile, a federal court has tossed a lawsuit against Pandora, "for alleged privacy missteps following Facebook integration," CNet reports here.

The Next Web Insider reports a rumor that Microsoft is negotiating the acquisition of on-demand music streaming and subscription service Rdio. Read more here. We reported yesterday (here) that Microsoft is launching its own music service, Xbox Music, this month.

Streaming music service Rhapsody is getting space for its app with a special "visibly rich" interface on new LG, Panasonic, and Samsung "smart" TVs. Read more in Engadget here.

Yahoo!, TuneIn, and iHeartRadio form circle of partnerships with radio this week

Friday, June 29, 2012 - 11:45am

Several new arrangements between the various players were announced in the last seven days, and many of those involved are dancing with multiple partners... so here's our stab at a "clear as mud" review:

TuneIn is a web and mobile "tuning service" which provides users (and device makers) a "one-stop" destination to find thousands of terrestrial and online streams and on-demand audio content. Last week, TuneIn announced (RAIN's coverage here) partnerships with 20 major broadcasting companies, including Fox News Radio, Bloomberg Radio, Public Radio Exchange and Monocle 24. These new partnerships alone added 600 new streams to the TuneIn directory. But they weren't finished. This week the company not only announced a new partnership (in RAIN here) to make available content from Carolla Digital (home to "The Adam Carolla Show," "This Week with Larry Miller," "Penn's Sunday School with Penn Jillette," and more) -- but also revealed (here) the addition of the local station streams from major U.S. radio groups Entercom, Cox, and Emmis (the three groups combined own more than 200 stations).

Interestingly, two of those groups -- Cox and Emmis -- had themselves just announced a similar deal with Clear Channel to make their streams available on CC's iHeartRadio platform as well (coverage here).

Clear Channel also announced a major partnership this week with Yahoo!, making them the "preferred radio" partner of the web giant. In our coverage, here, we had suggested that this new arrangement would elbow out CBS Radio, which had been Yahoo!'s radio partner... but coverage in the L.A. Times (here) and Taylor on Radio-Info (here) reports CBS isn't yet out of the picture. In other words, Yahoo! users who want local radio streams will be directed to Clear Channel (or other iHeartRadio partner) streams... unless they're shown CBS streams. Hmmm.

At least the personalized-radio situation is clearer. Now that Yahoo! and iHeart Radio are BFFs, Yahoo! users who want customized Internet radio will now be steered towards the iHeartRadio's "Custom Stations" feature. That is, unless they end up listening to personalized radio from Yahoo!'s other new partner, Spotify (which recently made free personalizable net radio the "central feature" of its mobile apps (here) -- and with whom Yahoo! also announced a partnership, here), for whom Yahoo! dumped Spotify-competitor Rhapsody

Enough? Or would you like to know that Slacker and ABC Radio are partnering to produce two gender-aimed lifestyle Internet radio talk stations; and that SiriusXM has announced a deal to make its content available via Google TV (coverage for both stories here)?

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