U.S. teens' top music source: YouTube, says Nielsen

Thursday, August 16, 2012 - 1:15pm

The new Music 360 study from Nielsen shows that in the U.S. "more teens listen to music through YouTube than through any other source (64%), followed by radio (56%) and iTunes (53% ) and CDs (50%)." 

Nearly half (48%) of Americans says they use radio most often to discover new music.

More than half (54%) said they have music player apps on their smartphones, followed closely by radio apps (47%).

Read more from Nielsen on Music 360 here.

SoundCloud courts public radio in effort to be "YouTube for audio"

Monday, August 6, 2012 - 12:45pm

"As part of its effort to 'unmute the web,' SoundCloud is courting radio news professionals, podcasters, and indie storytellers," reports the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard. "A year-old team of about a half-dozen people is focused on spoken-word content. The company just hired Jim Colgan, formerly a producer and digital experimenter for WNYC public radio, to manage partnerships with audio providers."

SoundCloud gives music and spoken word creators an easy way to publish and share their audio online. Its efforts can be seen as an attempt to rectify the "neglect" of sound on the web and establish a standard to make it easy to share audio, the way YouTube did for online video: by providing free hosting, an easy-to-embed player, and by building a huge community of users and creators.

"SoundCloud, of course, wants to be that standard. Think of it as an aspiring YouTube for public radio," suggests NJL.

Boston’s WBUR and the WGBH program "The World," L.A.-based KPCC and KCRW, North Carolina’s WUNC, St. Louis Public Radio, CNN Radio, and "99% Invisible" are traditional radio outlets or productions that are now actively uploading to SoundCloud.

Read more in Nieman Journalism Lab here.

DJ-centric Net radio platform hires vets from YouTube, UMG

Wednesday, August 1, 2012 - 11:00am

Former YouTube lead front-end developer Michael Wenzel, former GetGlue lead developer Nic Luciano, and former Universal Music Group supervisor of advertising, marketing and media services Chris Nagy have joined forces at is a Net radio service focused on DJ-mixed and "mix tape" music, which has now streamed over 1 million mixes from over 8,000 DJs.

Wenzel, the YouTube vet, is now's chief development officer. Luciano, from GetGlue, is now chief technology officer, Nagy will serve as SVP of marketing and sales.

Rights management is a particularly sticky problem for services featuring original DJ mixes. Unlike single discrete recordings which usually have a single copyright owner, DJ mixes can consist of snippets of dozens of separate copyright recordings. For this, has developed a "proprietary fingerprinting and rights flow-management technology, MixSCAN, (which) enables automated rights and royalty distribution to copyright holders."

Read more in the press release here.

Shadowy Anonymous group builds social music platform

Monday, April 23, 2012 - 12:35pm

A group of developers claiming to be part of Anonymous have built Anontune, a social music platform that aggregates streams from various Internet sources (e.g. YouTube) to build shareable playlists.

The developers wanted a music player like YouTube, but better organized, and with more obscure music... combining "music websites like Myspace, Yahoo, YouTube and others."

Users register (anonymously, naturally), and set up an account. They can then craft playlists by supplying titles of songs they want to hear, or Anontune can browse a user's iTunes collection. Anontune then finds the songs on the web using the web browser. According to Wired, most of the tracks come from YouTube and SoundCloud, but developers are adding Yahoo Music, Myspace Music, Bandcamp and others.

The service simply finds music already online, and is thus more similar to a search engine or torrent tracker. According to a video released about the project, "Anontune will never host any copyrighted music at any time, nor will it be streaming music. It will not offer for download any copyrighted music or even encourage it... This time, the law will be on our side...

"The state of online music has been sabotaged by the fat hands of corporate involvement..." set on "steal(ing) your freedom and safe-guard(ing) their profits." 

You can read Wired's coverage and see the video here. You can read a whitepaper on it here and get more tech details here.

Pandora (like AM/FM, for that matter) competes for listening with a wide array of other audio options, says study

Monday, March 12, 2012 - 11:35am

Radio researcher Mark Kasoff conducted a survey a Pandora listeners recently, to find what they'd substitute for it if it weren't available. In other words, if Pandora's site was down, how would its fans get their music fix?

Kassof's team found that terrestrial radio -- while nearer the top of a list of alternate sources of audio entertainment (49% of respondents mentioned it) -- was "not the clear alternative choice for Pandora listeners…it’s just one of many." That's because just as many (or more) Pandora partisans said they'd listen to "iPod/MP3 player" and "laptop/computer" (we're assuming these both could be taken to mean "personal music collection" or possibly "other streaming outlets" (including on-demand services). YouTube was also among the top responses.

Kassof's conclusion: "Pandora has at least as much in common with iPods and other music-only sources as it does with radio... probably more! The best strategy for radio is to do what Pandora and the others can’t – connect with listeners on a personal and emotional level."

Read Kassof's entry in his ListenerThink blog here.

Informal Arbitron survey shows radio not yet effectively "engaging" listeners via social media

Friday, October 28, 2011 - 11:30am

Arbitron released the results of an informal study it conducted on radio stations' use of social media and stations' social media engagement with listeners. The bottom line: radio largely approaches social media -- which should be a platform for "engagement" and genuine "back-and-forth" between station and listeners -- as another form of "broadcasting" (the "we talk, you listen" model).Arbitron social media chart

For the study, Arbitron randomly chose 15 stations (6 in markets 1-50, 5 in 51-149, 4 in 150+) of various formats and monitored their activities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and blogs (apparently, radio's abandoned MySpace) over a recent Thursday-Saturday. As it turns out, almost all stations in every format are on Facebook, but not necessarily Twitter, YouTube and MySpace. Interestingly, the study found the average station has a Facebook audience equal to roughly 7% of its cume (this does vary, however, by genre... small cume stations often have highly-engaged and loyal listeners, e.g. sports talk). [See the chart below-left. We're not sure of the difference between the "7% of cume" figure cited in the study's text, and the "11%" average that appears in the chart.]

The study revealed that nearly three-quarters of stations surveyed didn’t post a single Twitter or Facebook update over the weekend. More than half the stations didn’t manage to elicit a listener response on their Facebook wall for the entire three-day survey period. And for what engagement with listeners there was, almost 80% of those exchanges originated with the station.

More than 1 in every 4 radio station Facebook posts were plugs for contests and giveaways, but those posts generated only 10% of the comments stations got from listeners. "The lack of comments is indicative that these types of post are not actually stirring people’s interests or engaging them," says Arbitron. "To click on the 'like' button takes little effort and is a short term strategy, after all who doesn’t 'like' free stuff?" 

Arbitron social media chartBetter for actually eliciting listener response were "question" posts ("Who are you rooting for in the World Series?" or "Do you support or oppose the 'Occupy' movement?"). While only 1 in 5 station Facebook posts asked listeners for their opinion, more than half of listener posts on station Facebook pages were in response to these questions. Arbitron does offer the caution, however, "Stations need to ensure they aren’t just pushing out questions though and that they are actually engaging in the conversation."  

Arbitron concludes, "Stations must engage their listener. Engage doesn’t mean to push out a message from a social media platform and then count the responses. Engage means to share stories, build community and create deeper relationships. Most stations are not engaging consistently. It appears most stations have not adjusted their communication style from broadcasting to engaging."

Read the summary of Arbitron's study summary here.

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