New Jersey's WFMU.FM is a legendary freeform non-commercial radio station that embodies community from its supportive listeners to its wide-ranging programming. WFMU recently embarked on a new community adventure with their decision to develop an open source version of their currently proprietary CMS (content management system). The new CMS is called Audience Engine and its designed not only to manage content and build community, but to support fundraising.
SiriusXM last week debuted a new song countdown radio show based on popular music videos from YouTube hosted by YouTube star Jenna Marbles. The playlist is apparently based on a combination of YouTube data and SirusXM curation. While this effort partly reflects the ever-growing importance of YouTube to music, it also represents the gradual adaptation of new media (YouTube) to old forms of presentation (top hits countdown shows).
A panel of industry experts and BBC 1Xtra DJs has named Ed Sheeran the most important artist in black and urban music. 1 Xtra bills itself as leading black music station in the UK. #2 on the chart was twice as white as Sheeran, if that's possible. Disclosure - two white brothers named Guy and Howard Lawrence, and the equally Caucasian Sam Smith was in fourth place.
Sirius XM has added an additional $2 billion to its stock repurchase program. SiriusXM's Board of Directors approved a $2 billion stock repurchase in December 2012 and supplemented that with an additional $2 billion in October 2013. The satellite radio provided will fund the $6 billion in repurchases through cash on hand, future cash flow from operations and future borrowings.
Sub Pop's been making bold moves of late from opening a record store at Sea-Tac Airport to launching a Drip.fm-powered digital music subscription service. Last week they debuted a web radio station on TuneIn, a massive platform for web radio including both pure plays and terrestrial streams. It's hard to say how the station will do but it's another strong forward move by Sub Pop.
Google has acquired Songza for a financial figure undisclosed to the public. Launched in 2010, the music streaming app is designed to curate playlists for a listener according to their mood. Unlike other competitors, Songza doesn’t use algorithms, they employ over 50 employees to create playlists for specific settings including weather, special activities, and moods. Google plans to bring on all of Songza’s current staff and eventually incorporate the service into Google’s “Google Play Music” and the new subscription based Youtube Music streaming service. Early investors in the company were music executives Scooter Braun and Troy Carter who manage the careers of Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga.
Clear Channel's iHeartRadio, the digital music and live radio streaming service, today announced that it has surpassed 50 million registered users. iHeartRadio reached this milestone in three years - faster, according to the company, than any other streaming music platform and even faster than Twitter and Facebook. Of course, having America's largest broadcast radio group sing your praises daily, hasn't hurt.
(UPDATED) The very public battle between Google and global independent labels fighting for better terms will hit new heights in the coming days with thousands of videos being taken down as YouTube prepares for the launch of its new streaming music service. Popular videos from Adele, the Arctic Monkeys and many others from labels unwilling to sign the YouTube deal "as is" will be banned, according to reports.
From Beats to Pandora "personalized" is streaming music's buzzword of 2014. iHeartRadio, Clear Channel's free digital music service, joined the fray today launching new iOS and Android apps designed to give users a more personalized experience via "enhanced algorithms". Among the updates is “For You”, which adds a genre selection tool for tailored station recommendations.
Sadly Georgia State administrators have been colluding with Georgia Public Broadcasting in an undemocratic fashion to attempt to replace daytime student programming of terrestrial broadcasts at student-run college radio station WRAS 88.5. Apparently this has been a very influential station for indie music in the States. Students and faculty appear to have been bypassed. And their trailblazing radio programming may now be replaced by more media for older white liberals with a literary bent.
Google is promoting Google Play on UK television with a live performance by singer Sam Smith that will be broadcast as a live ad on "Alan Carr: Chatty Man." Smith's song "Stay With Me" is currently topping the UK charts. The tv ad effort is a "collaboration between Channel 4, Google Play, MediaCom and Universal Music label Capitol." Said to be the first live tv ad broadcast in the UK, all participants will be working hard to get this one right.
Canadian Music Week has announced the winners of the 17th annual Canadian Radio Music Awards last night at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre. Presented by Bell Media, the Canadian Radio Music Awards celebrated both national and international artists who have gained significant traction on Canadian radio over the past year.
(UPDATED) Subscription music streamer audio will launch a new ad supported music service later this year with the help of Cumulus, a broadcast radio group that also owns syndicater Westwood one. Cumulus acquired a major stake in Radio last year and announced the new initiative during a recent earnings call.
Emmis Communications may be known for radio but they're putting money into a DJ's web and mobile operation. Funkmaster Flex, a well-known hip hop dj at New York's Hot 97 radio station, also runs Flexco which creates websites and mobile apps for other radio stars. Though the exact investment amount is not public, Emmis ends up with 40% of Flexco.
A new BIAKelsey report is out titled "The Internet Radio Revolution Has Arrived." It was sponsored by XAPPmedia whose XAPP Ads are designed for voice interaction so that mobile listeners on the move can still engage. The report itself is a nice overview of the business of internet radio. With increasing user uptake advertisers are expected to follow. Given that more and more music is supported by advertising, this next stage is crucial not only to radio but to the near-term and possibly long-term sustainability of the music industry.
Jacobs Media's latest survey of radio listeners, Techsurvey10, finds that "radio is on both sides of the tipping point." That sounds painful but, as it turns out, they're saying that many listeners are still tuning in to broadcast aka terrestrial radio via traditional sources while a growing number are listening to those stations digitally. It's one of the more interesting points of a survey which I feel could use a glossary for those of us who find radio important to the music industry but aren't part of the radio industry.
Leading UK music video tv channel Box TV is bringing Spotify to what used to be the small screen aka the television. In what is apparently just the beginning of a partnership, the two are launching "The Official Box+ Streaming Chart" which is described as a "brand new music TV show." What's kind of weird is that they don't really tell you anything about the show leaving me to assume it's all music videos like what I imagine the rest of their channels to be. But that's just a guess.
Streaming music online is exploding, but is it driving music discovery? A new report from Edison Research and Triton Digital says it is, but perhaps not quite as much as you might think. The study surveyed 950 Americans older than 12, who said that learning about new music was either "very important" or "somewhat important."
OP ED by CBS Local Digital Media's President, Ezra Kucharz.
Digital music services lead double lives. Just as the Roman god Janus had two faces forever looking to both the past and future, many digital music services at times are critical of their broadcast radio counterparts as emblems of the past, yet simultaneously seek the one thing that most do not have: broadcast radio promotion. Indeed, broadcast radio will remain strong in the future. The sector’s actions reinforce that there is no better way to reach and engage a mass audience while concurrently and rapidly creating awareness, acquiring new users, and engendering trust.
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em; or at least spend some marketing dollars there. Apple's iTunes Radio has started a campaign to grab listeners from broadcast radio by advertising on... broadcast radio. The spot was first noticed on Boston country station WKLB-FM by Robert Maccini who tipped the RAIN blog.
Listen to the spot:
BandPage has partnered with Clear Channel to deliver artist content including bios, photos, tour dates with tickets links and special "fan experience" offers on digital radio service iHeartRadio and the sites of the broadcaster's 840 North American radio stations. Live Nation, Rhapsody, Vevo and Xbox Music also draw select content from BandPage's 500,000 artist profiles.
A new eMarketer study estimates there will be 159.8 million digital radio listeners by the end of 2014, and will grow to 183.4 million in 2018. Digital radio listeners are now at mass-market proportions, representing just over half of the population and two thirds of internet users. But digital radios's path forward is not without potential pitfalls including issues of scale and pricing challenges, according to the report.
A new Nielsen report, State Of The Media: Audio Today 2014 How America Listens February 2014, shows 242 million people listen to the radio weekly in the U.S 92% of all age 12 and older. Country music is the most listened to format, according the the survey, of the 20 genres listed.
SoundExchange closed out 2013 with a record-setting distribution of $170.4 million to recording artists and record labels in the fourth quarter. Total year-end digital radio royalty payments reached an all-time high of $590.4 million, up 28% from 2012. Since launching 10 years ago, SoundExchange has paid out nearly $2 billion.
The United States is the only democratic country in the world where artists don’t get paid for radio airplay. In retaliation for the US also not paying foreign artists for radio airplay here in the United States, many other countries are not paying American artists in their countries. That's the motivation behind a petition started by artist and entrepreneur Blake Morgan. David Byrne (pictured right) and others have jumped on board.
In the fall Paul Riismandel wrote an "immodest proposal" in the hopes of encouraging indie radio stations and indie musicians to work together. He points to a natural fit between non-commercial radio and indie artists and proposes at least one possibility for connecting the two. The larger point is that indie radio and indie musicians could be supporting each other in ways that would benefit both sectors as long as everyone is willing to cooperate.
Last week the FCC released a quarterly report on the number of currently licensed broadcast stations. Radio Survivor puts the numbers in long-term perspective to show that this year's growth in U.S. radio stations is part of a 20 year trend. While AM stations slipped, FM grew especially in the educational radio sector that includes college, community and public radio. Though individual stations face plenty of challenges, terrestrial radio overall is not the wasteland one might imagine.