streaming

Clear Channel files patent for process to substitute songs in streams

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:45pm

New Clear Channel-developed technology would allow stations to substitute songs in streams with other tunes -- even of different lengths.

The company has filed an application with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office that describes the process as using a "variable buffer delay" to handle differing song lengths, allowing the stream to resume the original progamming "downstreams," as it were.

Billboard.com explains, "content for one broadcast station may include songs or advertisements pertinent to one audience but not for the audience of another broadcast station. Another scenario finds content in a transmission from one radio station may content undesirable for the diverse audiences of the radio stations carrying the transmission."

Tom Taylor Now (which is how we learned of this story) today conjures up a good example: "It could also be applied to syndicated shows which service multiple formats - like the John Boy & Billy show, which clear on both country and rock stations."

You can read the Billboard coverage here; Tom Taylor now here; and the patent application here.

Apple's "iRadio" stalled yet again on royalties

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:45pm

The Financial Times reports that Apple's development of its "iRadio" streaming service are caught up by rights negotiations yet again, this time with Sony Music.

Apple reportedly has reached and agreement with Universal Music, and is close to a deal with Warner Music, leaving only Sony among the "big three" label groups.

Though Apple won't verify any details, or that they're even developing such a product, the Financial Times reports:

"These people said that Apple had first offered a royalty of about 6 cents for every 100 tracks it streams, but had raised this to about 12.5 cents, in line with the rate paid by internet-radio service Pandora. But it was unclear whether Universal had accepted the 12.5 cent rate, and other labels are thought to be pushing for better terms."

The paper's sources also suggest Apple has offered to pay for music rights on a per-track royalty, an ad revenue share, and a guaranteed minimum. Read the Financial Times' coverage here.

How would radio and webcasters fare when Google and Apple barrel into streaming?

Friday, May 10, 2013 - 12:45pm

Make way for the big boys.

"Companies like Google, Apple and Facebook are eyeing the streaming and on-demand music business now dominated by smaller niche companies such as Pandora and Spotify. When they do -- and most analysts agree it's really just a matter of time -- they could give nearly everyone the ability to listen to whatever they want, whenever they want -- and mostly for free," wrote San Jose Mercury News' Heather Somerville yesterday.

If true, this brings up a whole host of issues, some of which Somerville explores, like the impact on artists, consumers' relationship with music, and others. But where does it leave Internet radio: both pureplays like Pandora, and music broadcasters who'll rely more and more on digital efforts to grow? Smaller companies will have to become even more creative and agile to offer a value proposition the larger companies can't -- a sort of "boutique" existence, catering to niche and local audiences. 

"There is no doubt that when companies this large enter into the field, it will be disruptive," Jonathan Handel, a media and entertainment attorney, told the paper.

Read more here.

45% of TechSurvey 9 respondents listen to online radio weekly

Monday, May 6, 2013 - 1:00pm

Jacobs Media released the results of this year's TechSurvey 9 today -- their study of the habits and adoption of technology by radio listeners. Jacobs, for what it calls the "largest technology survey ever conducted for radio," examined how "Baby Boomers" plus "Gen's X, Y, and Z" across twelve radio formats use Internet streaming, social media, mobile technology, and more.

The TechSurvey 9 "Media Usage Pyramid 2013" (below) shows that 45% of Jacobs' respondents are now weekly Internet radio listeners. Interestingly, this is the same percentage Arbitron and Edison Research (in their Infinite Dial 2013 study) found as monthly Net radio users. Their weekly reach was just 33%. Keep in mind that The Infinite Dial examined a wider base of study subjects. See more in RAIN here.

Fully 20% of those studied are weekly Pandora listeners -- but Jacobs points out nearly a third of Pandora listeners are getting annoyed by commercials (that number was 20% last year).

This year, 11% of TechSurvey respondents own a "digital dash" system like Ford Sync in their cars. More than half of those surveyed can connect iPods or smartphones to their car's dash (62% of Gen Y).

In the press release, Jacobs Media President Fred Jacobs says his "takeaway" is "radio’s ability to uniquely connect with consumers on their preferred platforms is the secret sauce for future success in the digital space." Likely a thought Jacobs will explain in more detail during the six webinars the team will present on the study (each focusing on a different radio format group). Details and registration are here. See more graphs from the study, including a larger version of the "Media Usage Pyramid," here.

NAB task force to prepare for new streaming music royalty negotiations

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 - 12:50pm

The National Association of Broadcasters has reportedly formed a dedicated task force in anticipation of upcoming negotiations on streaming music royalties.

The NAB reached a streaming royalty deal with SoundExchange (the music industry body that adminsters royalties for the online use of copyright recordings) in February of 2009 (ending in 2015), the top-level terms of which are here under "COMMERCIAL BROADCASTERS".

Inside Radio reports Beasley Broadcast Group CFO Caroline Beasley will head the task force. As chair of the NAB Radio Board, Beasley "was actively involved in 2010's performance royalty negotiations," Inside Radio wrote.

Her company is one of the ownership groups which, like Clear Channel and Entercom, have entered into royalty deals outside of the NAB/SoundExchange deal, with some smaller labels. Though the terms of the deals are never made public, it's commonly understood that in exchange for significant royalty discounts on the music they stream, radio groups pay a small royalty on the broadcast use of the labels' recordings (which the radio groups characterize as an "advertising revenue share").

Part of the NAB's deal with SoundExchange, by the way, waives limits on music use imposed by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, known as the “sound performance complement,” which presumably makes online channels like iHeartRadio's two-artist "Beatles & Stones" stream (see our coverage here) legit.

Arbitron reportedly to relax rules for online "simulcast" streams

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 11:50am

Arbitron will reportedly relax some of its terms under which a broadcaster's online stream can be considered a "simulcast."

Until now, Arbitron would consider a station's stream a "simulcast" only if it were 100% identical to the on-air broadcast -- content, ads, everything needed to be the same (and aired at the same time) on the stream as was aired on AM or FM. This means a station stream that substitutes on-air commercials with "online-only" ads, public service messages, promos, or other content, in the stream is not a "simulcast" -- and thus its streaming audience cannot be combined with its on-air audience for ratings purposes.

Beginning in May, the ratings company will allow a "simulcast" broadcast to substitute ads to streaming listeners outside the station's metro area with different ads from the same advertiser. All other content outside of commercials must remain 100% identical.

This change allows stations to "fulfill an advertiser's request that locally advertised specials not be heard outside the local market yet still qualify to receive Total Line Reporting," Inside Radio reports today. Radio can add its digital listening towards its total audience numbers, as well as sell combined on-air/online ad campaigns even for advertisers who want to restrict specific messaging to within the metro.

Inside Radio writes that some broadcasters say McDonald's and Subway directed stations to remove certain spots from their streams for this very reason.

Paragon consultant Mike Henry wrote of many mid- and smaller-sized broadcasters moving towards fully-simulcasting (that is, not changing ads for streaming) because of its inherent advantages. He blogged, "This shift is interesting because it pits the streaming strategy of major groups such as CBS and Clear Channel in one camp, and the mid-sized and smaller groups in another camp. The majors are apparently betting on a streaming sales future, while the other groups are retrenching behind towers and their broadcast sales."

Read more in today's Inside Radio (subscribe here) and from Paragon here.

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