RAIN news round-up

Wednesday, June 27, 2012 - 11:55am

There's so much news to cover today! We wanted to make it quick and easy for you to catch up with some of the great coverage from our colleagues, so here are some important news items in brief:

-- Yahoo, Spotify team up: Yahoo and Spotify have announced a global deal, that will have the leading on-demand music service replacing Rhapsody as Yahoo's music partner, and is perhaps the net portal's biggest music move since it shuttered its own on-demand service Yahoo Music Unlimited in 2008. Read more in the Los Angeles Times here and TechCrunch here.

-- TuneIn, Adam Carolla partner: Streaming aggregator and tuning service TuneIn and Carolla Digital have partnered to make the latter's shows (The Adam Carolla Show, ACE On The House, This Week With Larry Miller, Penn's Sunday School with Penn Jillette, and more) available on the TuneIn service. Read the press release here.

-- Slacker, ABC Radio launch lifestyle stations: Webcaster Slacker Radio and ABC Radio have launched "Men's Life" and "Women's Life," gender-targeted online talk radio stations. Read more in PCMag here.

-- Howard on Google TV: Reuters reports SiriusXM will make all of its programming available on Google TV, including Howard Stern's shows, plus live sports. A new app will allow listeners to pause live content and play back up to five hours. Google's I/O developer conference starts today in San Francisco. Read more here.

-- Radio One and a former employee battle over website, Facebook URL: Read Tom Taylor for more on the new "Streetz 94.5" in Atlanta, launched by former Radio One programmer Steve Hegwood, and the battle over the Streets94.5.com and www.facebook.com/Streetz 94.5. Taylor on Radio-Info coverage is here.

-- Leykis, Lionel on Talk Radio online: At the 2012 Talkers New Media Seminar, talk radio legend Tom Leykis appeared with LionelMedia's Lionel on a panel to talk streaming and podcasting strategy. Watch video (by Art Vuolo) from Talkers.com here.

-- ASCAP, BMI, SoundExchange obsolete, says economist: Stanford economist Roger Noll, at the recent recently asked a group of attorneys at a recent American Antitrust Institute conference, suggests we now have the information technology which has "eliminated the reason for (royalty-collection organizations) existing in the first place. Digital Music News reports here.

Evolver's Van Buskirk says services that pay as people listen will help kill the "one-hit wonder"

Friday, June 8, 2012 - 11:45am

While artists advocates complain about low payouts from streaming services like Spotify, Evolver.fm's Eliot Van Buskirk makes that point that such services may in fact be doing something far more important: helping to improve our shared musical culture.

Here's his argument: The economics of the music business of the past rewarded labels and artists when a record was purchased. Getting the customer to lay down the cash at the record store or the iTunes store was all that mattered. Whether that record became a lifelong favorite of the purchaser -- or they listened to it once and never again -- didn't matter. This reality incentivized the creation of "one-hit-wonders capable of moving product quickly."

But music consumption is moving away from the "upfront payment" of purchasing product, and towards "pay as you use" streaming services (Spotify, YouTube, Pandora, MOG, iHeartRadio, Rdio, Rhapsody). In this world, copyright owners and artists will earn not by creating a product that convinces a listener to take a one-time action (make the purchase), but by creating art that the listener wants to enjoy again and again.

"It’s no longer enough to convince fans to buy a disc once," writes Van Buskirk. "Instead, artists and labels have to turn them into lifelong fans."

More from Van Buskirk: "This new phase of music consumption...is just what music fans who are sick of one-hit wonders and flashy pop hits need. By paying out only when people actually listen instead of suckering fans into buying something only to leave it on the shelf... on-demand unlimited music services build an incentive into the music business to create works of lasting value."

As we've argued the Internet may usher in a new golden age of radio, Van Buskirk wistfully hopes for a return to a time "when labels used to spend years or decades developing an artist instead of releasing whatever they think will sell that week."

Read Van Buskirk in Evolver.fm here.

Data driving new Billboard "On-Demand" chart will be included in Hot 100

Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 12:30pm

Billboard has created the "On-Demand Songs" chart, based on song plays on subscription online music services. Data from the chart is now included in Billboard's Hot 100.

The weekly chart will rank songs based on "every on-demand play request and plays from unlimited listener-controlled radio channels" available from MOG, Muve Music, Rdio, Rhapsody, Slacker and Spotify (data from Zune and Sony Music Unlimited is planned to be included in the coming weeks). This includes streams as well as tethered downloads, as heard by paying subscribers and free users alike.

Billboards' Hot 100 will now include the streaming data from the new On-Demand Songs chart, plus non-interactive plays from Rhapsody and Slacker. (This is in addition to terrestrial radio plays, digital track sales, plays on video request service Akoo, and audio from on-demand streams from MySpace and Guvera, Yahoo! radio streams and Yahoo! on-demand video plays.)

Nielsen BDS, which collects and processes the streaming data for the chart, says it's tallied more than 4.5. billion audio streams so far this year, including an all-time weekly high of more than 625 million in the past week. The updated Hot 100 and the new On-Demand Songs chart debut tomorrow on Billboard.com and Billboard.biz, and in the next issue of Billboard magazine, available Friday. The On-Demand Songs chart will also be featured each week on www.digitalmusic.org.

Read more from Billboard.biz here.

Rhapsody: Half of listening is mobile, in-car a major focus

Tuesday, March 13, 2012 - 1:05pm

Rhapsody for mobile devicesLike it is for many Internet radio services, mobile makes up half of on-demand music platform Rhapsody's listening. That's "a large percentage, considering the company’s ten-year history as a desktop music player," writes Evolver.fm's Eliot Van Buskirk. The ratio may tip further in favor of mobile, as Rhapsody soon plans to allow Facebook users to try its mobile apps for free -- no credit card required.

Van Buskirk says a "major factor" for Rhapsody's high mobile usage is in-car listening. Rhapsody is reportedly looking to integrate its service into car dashboards. 

However, “the problem with the car right now is that it’s so fractured,” said product head Jon Maples. “We could hit all the major players, and we wouldn’t even get five percent of all cars.” Other problems to overcome include open APIs for basic functions (Play/Pause, Skip, etc.) and ways around mobile data limts, like offline playback.

Evolver.fm has more coverage here. Rhapsody's Chief Product Officer Brendan Benzing will appear at RAIN Summit West 2012 (more info here).

Vegas conference to feature Edison's Rosin, Aha's Acker and Rhapsody's Benzing

Friday, March 2, 2012 - 11:15am

Larry RosinToday RAIN announces the addition of three more industry executives to the agenda of RAIN Summit West 2012: Edison Research Co-founder and President Larry Rosin, Aha GM and Vice President Robert Acker and Rhapsody Chief Product Officer Brendan Benzing.

The conference takes place Sunday, April 15 in Las Vegas (more info below).

Larry Rosin (pictured right) has been involved with media for over 20 years, the last sixteen in audience research. Rosin has been recognized as one of the leading thinkers in the field, and advises many of the world’s largest media companies, including Time Warner, Sony, Disney/ABC and EMAP. Rosin founded Edison Research in 1994 and has been a primary force in building the company into one of the world’s largest and most respected media research companies.

Robert AckerRobert Acker (pictured left) has been a pioneering entrepreneur in the connected car space for over 14 years. In his current role, Acker and his team are working to revolutionize radio for today’s connected consumer. Aha organizes content from the web into personalized radio stations that consumers can listen to from anywhere, including from the driver’s seat.

Brendan BenzingBrendan Benzing (pictured right) oversees the design, creation and improvement of the Rhapsody product and service, as well as its marketing and communications efforts. His media career spans 19 years, including over a decade directing development of subscription-based and ad-supported media products for the PC, TV and mobile platforms.

Other speakers set to appear at RAIN Summit West 2012 include Spotify VP of U.S. Ad Sales Jon Mitchell, Katz360 Sales President Brian Benedik, Pandora SVP of Advertising Sales Steven Kritzman and many others.

ESPN SVP of Production/Business Divisions Traug Keller will keynote the conference. RAIN will announce more speakers and panel topics in the coming weeks.

RAIN Summit West 2012RAIN Summit West will take place on Sunday, April 15 at the former Las Vegas Hilton, now called the LVH -- Las Vegas Hotel and Casino. It will conclude with the always-anticipated tradition of the poolside RAIN Reader Cocktail Party.

The Summit is an official “Co-Located Education Program” of the NAB Show. Registration includes access to the NAB Show Exhibit Hall and a catered box lunch. RAIN registrants can save $100 on NAB registration.

For registration and sponsorship information, visit kurthanson.com/rainsummitwest.

Other RAIN Summits are planned for later this year in Dallas (at the RAB/NAB Radio Show) on September 18th, in Minneapolis (at the Conclave) on July 20, and in Berlin, Germany on October 5th.

Music streaming/social network service iLike shuts down

Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 11:05am

Like Imeem, Napster, and Lala before it, streaming music service iLike has now been shut down after years of slow decline following its acquisition by a larger company.

As one of the pioneering music streaming/social networking services, iLike attracted 55 million registered users and was one of the first music apps on Facebook, before Myspace bought it in 2009.

"Turns out, serving up free, ad-supported music is really, really hard," writes Janko Roettgers in GigaOm. He reminds the reader that Imeem offered a very similar service and was also absorbed and eventually shuttered by Myspace. Likewise, Rhapsody eventually shut down Napster after acquiring it, as did Apple with Lala.

Read Roettgers in GigaOm here.

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