Road likely soon ending for in-car radio as an appliance, not as a medium

Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 11:50am

"The in-dash car radio, with its dials and knobs, isn't signing off yet. But it's past its prime in the eyes of some automakers, and most aren't prepared to spend much time or money tinkering with it. Instead, they're focusing on the next generation of in-car entertainment, such as Web browsing and music streaming. Startup automaker Detroit Electric plans to be the first without a radio when it rolls out its first car in August — audio will be delivered via smartphone."

A pretty interesting take from one of the nation's carmakers' hometown papers, The Detroit News. The article's subhead reads: "AM-FM not dead yet but music streaming, Internet new priority."

We've covered the evolution of in-car audio from broadcasting to streaming a lot, both in this newsletter and at the RAIN Summit. You've certainly be reading it for years, and you've probably already experienced it. The ability of the drivers and passengers to access online-only audio content has long been heralded as perhaps the most important watershed for the emergence of Internet radio and its ability to compete with broadcasters. 

It needs to be stressed that no one here is saying radio as a medium -- or broadcasters or broadcast companies -- is on the way out. In fact, those professionals and operations will be more important than ever. The "radio" that will disappear from car dashboards is the AM/FM receiving appliance. Thilo Koslowski, a vice president at technology research firm Gartner Inc., told the paper soon it will simply make more sense to deliver content via Wi-Fi or data plans.

Read the article in today's The Detroit News (also the source of the image) here. (H/t to Tom Taylor Now)

Radio streaming services provider Securenet launches new iOS app for clients

Monday, April 29, 2013 - 12:00pm

Securenet Systems has just released its latest mobile app for the iPhone/iPad for its client stations.

Clients can customize most of their mobile app features via the radio station manager’s Control Panel, like logo updates, editing station info, and player skin changes on their app. The station manager Control Panel can be used to manage both iPhone and Android versions of the app simultaneously.

Securenet Systems is a Florida based streaming services provider for radio, serving over 2,000 radio stations in more than 40 countries. Its services include streaming, audio/video ad-insertion, display banner serving, royalty accounting, listener metrics, and mobile listener apps.

Securenet's press release is here.

Rumored summer launch for Apple's own streaming radio service

Friday, April 5, 2013 - 11:50pm

New reporting from CNet is possibly giving some shape to Apple's much-anticipated streaming music service.

All of these details are sourced from the ever-insightful "people familiar with the negotiations," so none are official. But according to what CNet has heard, Apple is close to settling with Warner Music and Universal Music groups (not yet Sony, nor publishers) for a summer U.S. launch of a non-interactive (like Pandora, not like Spotify) streaming service.

Allegedly Apple will pay royalties less than the statutory rate, and just half what Pandora pays. But to sweeten the deal, Apple will share ad revenue -- possibly as much as 35%-45% -- from a new class of audio ads (not simply the small iAds displays). And Apple is supposedly "proposing to the labels... a full-on, multinational sales force that would sell audio ads akin to what Pandora serves up for listeners to its free service." Apple also hopes to launch the service in the UK, France, Germany, Australia, and Japan (Pandora is legally available only in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand).

Read more from CNet here.

RAIN ANALYSIS: We'd like to know much more about (a) features that will make Apple's service unique in the marketplace (the CNet article mentions features like "going back to the beginning of the song" and "making it easier to purchase music," which sound mildly interesting, but aren't really anything to hang a service's hat on; and (b) how the music will be "programmed" (i.e. human curation, internal iTunes data, third-party data). An automated, curated radio service based on iTunes data would be something genuinely new in the marketplace, which is currently dominated by only Pandora's Music Genome and services that use The Echo Nest. But would it be noticeably different from a user's perspective? -- MS

Labels made $1B+ from streaming last year, 45% from sources like Pandora and SiriusXM

Tuesday, April 2, 2013 - 12:40pm

Yesterday (in this article) we alluded to RIAA financial statements that revealed streaming revenue from sources like Pandora, Spotify, and YouTube (known as "access models") amounted to $1.0328 billion in 2012, accounting for 15% of total industry revenue.

$462 million, or about 45% of the digital total, came from non-interactive digital services operating under statutory licenses (Internet, satellite, and cable radio) via SoundExchange.

Physical retail sales (CDs/vinyl) amounted to about $2.584 billion, down 18.5% in a year. Downloads amounted to $3.02 billion.

See the RIAA revenue summary sheet here.

TuneIn will provide access to live and archived RAIN Summit audio this year

Thursday, March 28, 2013 - 12:45pm

Online radio tuning service and mobile listening app maker TuneIn and RAIN Summits have announced their partnership to stream live audio from the RAIN Summit West and RAIN Summit Orlando industry events this year. TuneIn will provide live audio of RAIN Summit panels, presentations, and keynote speeches, and archive the content for later listening.

Access to the feeds will be provided from the RAIN Summits web pages and in this publication.

RAIN Summit West is Sunday, April 7 in Las Vegas. The annual full-day Internet radio conference is a co-located education program of the NAB Show. Now in its 12th year, the Summit focuses on the intersection of radio and the Internet. Keynoting the event will be RAB president and CEO Erica Farber (more in RAIN here) and Rhapsody International president Jon Irwin (more here). TuneIn's Carl Rohling will be a part of the "Dashboard Discussions" panel as well.

RAIN Summits also annually holds a half-day event in September, in conjunction with the NAB/RAB Radio Show. Details on September 17th's RAIN Summit Orlando will be available soon.

Beats reportedly talking to Apple about Daisy music service; picks up $60M in new funding

Wednesday, March 6, 2013 - 12:30pm

Apple is reportedly in talks with Beats Electronics on a possible music streaming service partnership.

Sources say Apple CEO Tim Cook and Internet products chief Eddy Cue met with Beats CEO Jimmy Iovine to learn more about the Beats' upcoming "Daisy" streaming music service.

Relatedly, Beats announced yesterday $60 million in new funding for the project from an investment group that includes Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik, to bankroll the service's planned late-2013 launch.

It was early last September when word first leaked that Apple was planning to launch its own customizable streaming music service (RAIN coverage here) -- but on that was more of an Internet radio/Pandora competitor.

Beats is the Dr. Dre/Iovine company that makes the popular Beats headphones, and owns music subscription service MOG (which is being rebuilt as "Daisy"). At CES in January, Iovine told AllThingsDigital's Peter Kafka he'd long been trying to push the late Apple founder Steve Jobs towards creating a streaming music subscription service (see RAIN coverage here). Also at CES, Iovine and his company named former Yahoo! Music and Topspin CEO Ian Rogers (RAIN coverage here) CEO of Daisy. More on Daisy in RAIN here.

Read more about Apple and Beats from here and Reuters here.

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