streaming

New BBC streaming radio service is not rumored Playlister for on-demand music

Monday, October 8, 2012 - 11:25am

The BBC today has launched iPlayer Radio, its dedicated radio streaming service that allows users to listen to 57 BBC radio stations and archived music offerings, live or on-demand. The service is available via either browser-based "web apps" or a new iPhone/iPad app.  

However, this is not the rumored Playlister downloading and on-demand track streaming service hinted at last week in RAIN (here).

"The move to improve the radio experience is long overdue and points to how the BBC may have slightly lost out on capitalizing on a growing audience for digital radio consumption," writes TechCrunch. "It says that year-on-year, monthly iPlayer requests for radio have increased 56% to 2.8m on mobile, and 300% to 1.2m on tablet up to now."

The BBC has a similar service for their television content, launched in 2007, called iPlayer TV. It gives users online access to previously-aired BBC video.

On iPlayer Radio, users can save favorites, watch videos, search, and discover what their friends are listening to via the iPlayer's social integration. The web service is available globally, but the mobile app only works in the UK.

The TechCrunch report is here. There's more in Hypebot here. Read James Cridland's review of the BBC iPlayer Radio here

Apple announces new iTunes, stays mum on streaming plans, at yesterday's iPhone 5 event

Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 12:20pm

During the big iPhone 5 announcement yesterday, Apple also revealed it will soon launch a brand new version of its industry-leading media software iTunes. The new version will reportedly feature "a more intuitive layout, improved performance, easier playlist creation, a new full-library search and improved iCloud integration," reports AllThingsDigital (here). "Also new to the software: A completely redesigned mini-player that’s even less intrusive than the previous version, and boasts its own built-in search function." The new iTunes will be available next month.

[Apple even showcased the FM tuner in the iPod Nano, and announced updated "Live Pause" and iTunes tagging features. More on FM on the Nano below.]

What Apple didn't talk about yesterday was its rumored move into online music streaming (see RAIN here). PaidContent.org thinks it simply isn't the time yet. "Before (Apple subscription streaming) goes live... two things will likely need to happen: (1) Streaming rivals must prove that there is a meaningful enough business opportunity in subscription to draw Apple out; and (2) iTunes Store’s track download business must plateau or begin shrinking, pushing it to discover new pastures," wrote PaidContent. "Such a move, when it happens, will redefine the industry forever – but Apple, and music, can afford to wait." Read more here.

So says the Music Industry Blog. "If Apple were to get into the music subscription game that it could drive it to the mainstream," writes Mark Mulligan (here). But, "Apple’s core responsibility is ensuring that the music experience of its iOS device owners is as good as it can be, not to break into new market segments for the sake of it... It is probably time to stop waiting for Apple to drive another new digital music paradigm and instead bank on it continuing to innovate prudently."

Additionally, Ethan Kaplan (here) writes, "when Apple goes subscription streaming it won’t be a surprise. And it is inevitable... The issue is that releasing (an Apple streaming product) at this point does two things: eliminates what is to them a high margin business, and effectively kills the recorded music business by slaughtering mechanical revenue from retail."

Back to Apple's mention of its FM tuner in the iPod Nano: Jacobs Media Director of Digital Tim Davis wrote (here), "Even in the midst of one the most anticipated technology announcements of the year from the most valued company in the world, FM radio still managed to snag a special guest role as part of Apple’s revamped lineup. With devices that were for all practical purposes intended to replace traditional radio among consumers, FM radio is not only included in these iPod Nanos, but is also showcased as a featured benefit."

Apple reportedly negotiating with labels to stream with fewer restrictions on interactivity and content

Friday, September 7, 2012 - 1:05pm

"In a move that could shake up the growing field of Internet radio," writes The New York Times, "Apple plans to develop a service that would compete with Pandora Media by sending streams of music customized to users’ tastes," news broke late yesterday.

The Wall Street Journal wrote, "Such services create virtual 'stations' that play music similar to a song or artist of the user's choosing, either on Web browsers or smartphone apps. Like traditional radio, they are typically free for users, but incorporate advertisements."

Interestingly, Apple is reportedly negotiating with major labels regarding the service. Webcasters wanting to operate a non-interactive service don't need label agreements to stream -- as long as they adhere to DMCA rules (and pay royalties at the established rates), there's a statutory license available to them.

The fact that Apple is looking to forge deals with the labels indicates (and some sources have confirmed) they want to operate on terms other than the statutory -- in regards to the rates they pay, or the level of user-interactivity (on-demand song play, offline play, downloading, etc.), or content presentation (the DMCA limits the amount of music by a single artist a webcaster can stream in a given time frame, for instance).

Sources say the Apple service would likely be free to the user, and ad-supported. The service would like come preinstalled as an app on devices like iPhones and iPads, and might be able to connect to users’ iTunes accounts to collect usage info and better understand their tastes (both huge competitive advantages for Apple over services like Pandora). The service, reportedly, will not work on the Google Android mobile platform.

"Going head-to-head with Pandora pits Apple against one of the only other companies to gain real consumer traction in online music," writes The Journal. "According to a recent consumer survey by Nielsen Co., more adults said they use Pandora to listen to music than Apple's iTunes."

Read more from The New York Times here and The Wall Street Journal here, and look for more on this in RAIN.

Broadcasters ignoring streaming, says Rhoads, pushing web listeners to better alternatives

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 - 12:50pm

Rhoads"Radio is foolishly ignoring streams today," writes Radio Ink publisher Eric Rhoads. "Streaming will be your primary source of revenue," he tells broadcasters in a new editorial, predicting that by 2016, "your transmitter will make up only a small percentage of your listening."

Rhoads sees broadcasters tripping over the same mistakes when it comes to streaming as they did with HD Radio: allocating minimal resources and trying to do things "at the lowest possible cost" with the least effort. The results are eerily similar: content that sounds "badly programmed" and feels like an "afterthought." Is it then any wonder "why HD Radio has not been embraced" by listeners, or why streaming audiences are smaller than they might be?

This "sloppy" approach imperils radio's future, Rhoads argues. "Radio must put its best foot forward in everything it does," he writes. "You have to sound great."

But it's not just a matter of improving stream quality. As a broadcaster, you must "be everywhere your listener is, which means on every device," because "the transmitter is no longer [radio's] only form of distribution" and it could be flat-out "irrelevant" in the future.

Radio Ink

"If you’re not streaming, don’t have a mobile app, are not on aggregators like TunedIn or iHeartRadio, if you cannot be found in every possible device, you’ll dilute the impact of your brand. If people want to listen and you’re not there, they will find someone else."

Rhoads concludes, "Ignoring [streaming] is ignoring millions of listeners, and they all have other alternatives."

You can find Rhoads' full post in Radio Ink here.

RAIN Summit Dallas will include an entire panel dedicated to issues like those discussed by Rhoads. The "Online Strategies for Local Broadcasters" panel will feature members of CBS Radio, Triton Digital, Emmis Digital, TargetSpot, Marketron and more. Click here to find out more.

Radio, webcasters "extend audiences outside the venue" with streams of Labor Day music fests

Friday, August 31, 2012 - 12:05pm

On Wednesday (here) we reported that Pandora would live-stream an event for the first time, the Budweiser Made in America festival from Philadelphia.

We've also reported (here) that Emmis WQHT/New York "Hot 97" streamed live video from its Summer Jam festival earlier this summer. This weekend, the station will stream the entire 36-hour Rock the Bells hip-hop fest (Saturday and Sunday in Holmdel, NJ) on Hot97.TV and on Hot 97-owned Loud Digital Network. Emmis VP of digital Angie May Cook told Inside Radio, "(Live concert streams) extend your audience outside of the venue,” she says. “And you can measure a lot of the engagement, which is great for advertisers." She'll speak at RAIN Summit Dallas next month on our "Online Strategies for Local Broadcasters" panel (see today's RAIN here).

Finally, stream aggregator TuneIn has created Bumbershoot Radio (a music stream featuring artists playing this year's annual Seattle Bumbershoot Music & Arts Festival), and is partnering with local non-comm KEXP to stream som of this weekend's fest performances. TuneIn was a partner of Hot 97 for its Summer Jam, and streamed performances from San Francisco's Outside Lands festival. 

"With PPM causing a greater fixation on minute-by-minute programming, broadcasting a live concert on the air can be a risky proposition," Inside Radio points out. "Dedicated web streams increasingly help fill the void for live music programming."

We'll announce the winners of the 2012 Awards at RAIN Summit Dallas Sept. 18

Monday, August 27, 2012 - 1:10pm

The presentation of the third annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards happens at RAIN Summit Dallas on September 18th. Today, we're thrilled to announce the Awards finalists in each of the four categories.

RAIN and Triton Digital inaugurated the Awards in 2010 to recognize the achievements and best practices of webcasters in our industry. As part of the Awards, Triton Digital will award the 2012 RAIN Maker Award to honor the individual who has contributed significantly to advancing digital radio.

The judging staff has now visited, listened, sorted, and hashed out "short lists" of Awards finalists from this year's entries. It is from these finalists that a single winner in each category will be chosen. The Best Single-Stream Webcaster award is for operations that concentrate their energies and passion into crafting just one program of online radio content. Congratuations to this year's Single-Stream finalists: BeachFront Radio, BlackLight Radio, Castlerockradio.com, Floyd's 99 Radio, Radio Paradise, RootHog Radio, and The Cigar Station. The 2011 Single-Stream winner was HealthRadio.net.

Broadcast stations, groups, or online-only webcasters are all eligible for the Best Overall Digital Strategy prize. It's all about recognizing the operation that best harnesses new media tools (mobile, downloads, podcasts, streams, etc.) in a unified, focused strategy. This year's finalists are ESPN Audio, EXA FM, iHeartRadio, Karnaval.com, Spotify, and Sportsradio WEEI/Boston. Hubbard's Washington, D.C. WTOP was last year's winner in this category.

This next category recognizes streaming broadcasters (like our 2011 winner, Rhythmic CHR CJNW Hot 107 in Edmonton). The 2012 winner is among the following: 97.1 FM The Drive (WDRV/Chicago), ESPNRadio.com, and WDST Radio Woodstock.

And finally, the big one! Here are the finalists for the 2012 Best Overall Online Radio Service, which will go to the operation our judges feel provides the best overall online listener experience: 977music.com, AOL Radio, ESPN Audio, iHeartRadio, Live365, Pandora (the 2011 winner in this category), and Spotify.

Thanks to all our entrants, and congratulations and good luck to the finalists. We hope you can join us in Dallas on September 18th for the Awards at RAIN Summit Dallas. Click the link for information and to register.

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