Category Archives: New services

European Streaming Service Enters US Market

Radionomy, a French-Belgian service that enables users to set up their own online radio station and share it with others, is opening an office in San Francisco. The service, which has 6,000 user programmed stations, is similar to Live365 in its business model, taking care of the actual broadcasting and promotion of the stations, rights management, scheduling and audience monitoring and reporting.

They also have an advertising option that sells advertising across their network of stations, helping users of the service to monetize their content.

Radionomy has more than 42 million listener hours per month across its group of user generated stations. The new US office will be their fifth – they currently have offices in Germany, Spain, France and Belgium as well.

Radionomy CEO Alex Saboundjian will join a panel discussion on monetization strategies for Internet radio at RAIN Summit Europe on October 5th in Berlin. Also joining the panel will be Caroline Graze, NRJ International (Germany); David Deslandes, Deezer (France); Frank Nolte, RMS.de (Germany); and Zachary Lewis, Liquid Compass (US).

RAIN Summit Europe promises to be an exciting day of discussions focused on Internet radio in Europe. Check out the impressive speaker list here, and make plans now to join us!

Samsung Is In the Streaming Business

Device manufacturers are buying up streaming services, creating an interesting angle in the formula for success in the online audio marketplace. In March HTC bought MOG, now Samsung has picked up mSpot and relaunched it as Music Hub, a music store, locker and streaming service for their Galaxy phone. The service launched in Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the UK, and is not yet available in the US.

The service will be offered in both free and premium versions to owners of the new Galaxy S3. By the looks of it, it will try to get users to replace iTunes, Spotify and other streaming services with a one stop “hub” that offers 19 million songs in its catalog. Users can preview, purchase and download songs, store them in their locker, and play them back from their device or other devices or PCs. They can also stream personalized radio channels, get recommendations, build playlists and listen on-demand if they pay the subscription price of 9.99 euros or pounds.

While there is no word on why the service is not yet available in the US, it’s easy to suspect that there are licensing negotiations going on. and on.

There’s definitely a marketplace out there among device manufacturers for comprehensive streaming services that might be struggling to monetize given their enormous “content acquisition” fees. Mobile device manufacturers know that their customers want to stream content, and they are eager to offer it in a proprietary fashion to enhance the attractiveness of their brand. Dedicated lockers with lots of songs in them create long term relationships with customers, so the cost of acquiring the content and offering the service becomes part of the expense of acquiring and retaining customers. Ads, if they decide to sell them, are gravy rather than bread and butter.

Songza Streams Music For Your Mood

Songza is a streaming music platform that has been getting some buzz lately. Songza is a couple of years old and got its start after Amazon bought Amie Street in 2010 and the founders of that platform created Songza in its wake. In similar ways to Pandora, Songza lets listeners create stations starting with artists. Listeners can pick songs, share playlists, and get music recommendations.

Songza has a new feature that offers a new twist on personalized music called Music Concierge. Songza’s Music Concierge suggests the perfect playlist for your situation or mood. The Concierge will suggest music for Monday morning or Saturday night, using your preferences and combining them with information like mood, time of day, activity. So if you’re going for a run, you can plug into Songza and listen to a station just right for that. 

Songza is reportedly also working with “several large players in the terrestrial radio market” to license their technology and “help them create a compelling digital experience.” They are not, at present, running audio ads.

Here’s a link to an interview with Songza Founders Elias Roman and Eric Davich promoting their new feature, with some first looks at the interface.

Pandora Averages a Million Listeners In January

According to the latest ranker release from Triton Digital, Pandora has over a million average active sessions during the Monday through Sunday 6am – midnight broad daypart. Say what you will, that’s an enormous achievement.

In fact January turned out to be a good month for lots of streaming networks – Clear Channel, CBSRadio, Cumulus, EMF, Digitally Imported, Entercom, Cox and ESPNRadio all had strong January showings, according to the Webcast Metrics data that measures subscribing stations. Slacker was the only top ten streaming platform that did not show an increase from December to January.

Salem, EMF and AccuRadio lead the pack in terms of time spent listening. Here’s the ranker:

Myxer’s Smart Advantage

One of the lesser known streaming music services announced as an integrated streaming partner with Facebook was Myxer. Until recently Myxer was primarily a leading site for ringtones and other media for mobile phones, and they were doing pretty well traffic wise with that formula, claiming  more than 15 million mobile and Web unique visitors per month.

Late last year Myxer added a streaming music service that offers users the ability to create their own stations, invite their friends, share what they are listening to on facebook, and join other’s listening parties. While this may not sound all that different from some other offerings such as turntable.fm, Myxer has a couple of things going for it, not the least of which is that it’s already widely used as a source of ringtones, and has significant traffic going on. Ringtones are primarily sold to users of feature, as opposed to smartphones. It turns out that building brand recognition with this market could be a valuable advantage for Myxer.

In the first seven weeks of its launch, Myxer announced that it had signed up 150,000 new users for Myxer Social Radio. “We’ve clearly built a strong trust with consumers that lay the groundwork for continued growth as we bring new innovative mobile content solutions to the marketplace. We expect continued success in 2012,” said  Myk Willis, Founder and CEO of Myxer.

As smartphone usage continues to grow, the ringtone market, primarily associated with more basic phones, should fade. This move gives Myxer a great way to convert that market to mobile streaming listeners as they become smartphone customers. Myxer’s Social Radio App was featured as a best app of 2011 by Rolling Stone as well.

Shazam Scored Big During Sunday’s Game

The award for best use of the Superbowl to drive traffic to its music platform goes to Shazam, the innovative mobile music tagging app that ranks among the five most downloaded apps on iTunes ever.

Shazam is an app that you can use to tag songs and identify them. Hear a song and wonder what it is? Shazam identifies the song for you and offers you the lyrics. It also lets you preview and purchase the song, watch the video, and learn more about the artist. You can share songs with your friends as well. They have more than 175 million people using the service in 200 countries.

Shazam encouraged users to use Shazam to tag the halftime performances of artists and get exclusive content. Sponsored by Bud Light, the promotion offered both a Shazam logo on the screen and announcer promo telling the tv audience that they could use the app to tag artists and ads, enter contests and get special offers. Sponsor tie-ins included Toyota, offering a win a car sweepstakes, Cars.com which let viewers use the Shazam app to donate a buck to charity, and Pepsi which offered a free music video to viewers who used the app.

Shazam reported that football fans tagged content millions of times during the halftime show and ads. No word on how many folks downloaded the app during the show to use it, but I’m guessing there was a lot of traffic for that as well.

Simply by making music more interactive, Shazam was able to put itself at the center of one of the biggest tv events of the year. Here’s the Bud Light tv commercial featuring Shazam..

Streaming For Bookworms

The streaming audio marketplace isn’t just about music – Audiobooks is a new service competing for listeners’ ears. This new service competes with Amazon owned Audible.com and offers a cloud based service that lets listeners stream, listen and sync between devices as they move around. One article I read called it “Netflix for audiobooks” and another “Spotify for books”.

The service offers a $24.95 subscription, after an initial free offer, that enables you to stream as many books as you want. It’s a price point that is more expensive than Audible, which offers a tiered rate plan starting at $14.95 for the equivalent of one book a month. Audiobooks has about 10,000 titles in their library.

Some may find the subscription price point a little high, but when compared to the price of books or audiobooks, it’s actually not a high price for consumers looking for more than one book a month. Trade paperbacks these days are around $14.95/month, and hardcovers often cost more than the Audiobooks monthly fee.

The question is, of course, how many subscriptions will users tolerate on a monthly basis? This is the question that no one really has the answer to in the new streaming audio marketplace.

A Little Christmas Cheer

Christmas in the post-War United States

There are more than 425 stations streaming Christmas music this year, according to BRS Media, owner of web-radio.fm. That number includes AM/FM stations that are also streaming their Christmas programming online as well as online only stations. This year a record percentage of terrestrial AM/FM radio station are streaming online. Nearly 90% of terrestrial stations, playing Christmas music 24/7 over the air, are streaming online. That’s up from 75% in 2010; 60% in 2008 and up from only 35% in 2005. The total number of Christmas stations streaming has more then doubled in the past five years.

BRS Media, widely known for its top level domains .FM and .AM, has been tracking streamed Christmas offerings through it’s web-radio portal for 16 years as part of its more than 20,000 stations’ offerings. BRS Media launched the radio directory with two stations in the fall of 1995. Today, Web-Radio features nearly Twenty Thousand (20,000) radio station web sites, with over Fourteen Thousand (14,000) stations webcasting On-Line. Visitors to Web-Radio can search for their favorite station by call letters, format, state, country and Internet-only.

You can check out the extensive list of merry offerings here.

Last.fm’s New Site Is a Game Changer

Not to be outdone by recent enhancements by Spotify and Pandora, Last.fm has rolled out a new interface for Last.fm Discover that is easily the best looking offering I’ve seen by a streaming station. It’s based on HTML5 and was developed in tandem with Microsoft to showcase the new capabilities that HTML5 in Internet Explorer 9 can offer.

Last.fm Discover is a customizable, personalizable offering that focuses on new music and artists. Launched a few months ago, the offerings are influenced by Last.fm’s charts of what listeners are scrobbling and listening to on Last.fm.

The site is very playful and inviting – perfectly suited to the Discover theme – rolling green textured hills invite you to explore the various music genres. It’s a fun and inventive look that feels more like a game – listeners can’t help but poke around, relax, hang out and discover new music. Once you select a genre, it shows you some artists and endless options for listening to similar artists, or taking a new direction. It’s addictive – I found it hard to stop clicking. (The screenshot reveals my affection for K pop..)

While much of the new site can be seen in any browser, the experience is enhanced in Internet Explorer 9. In fact, I’m a Chrome user and this got me to open IE for the first time in a while. “What we want is to see more and more websites using as much of HTML5 as possible and one of the reasons for that is we want websites to be more like apps in the way they feel,” explained Ian Moulster Microsoft product manager.

I really like this new development – I think they’ve done a great job of breaking the mold when it comes to streaming station interfaces, developing a look that matches the station’s theme of discovery. So we’ll see if it gets Last.fm a little more traction in terms of listening. Last.fm has been surprisingly stagnant in terms of audience growth and general awareness here in the US compared to Pandora and Spotify.

Streaming Station That’s Out of This World

Moon and Saturn / Maan en Saturnus

Image by Arjan Almekinders via Flickr

NASA has launched a new space station and this time it’s an Internet radio station called Third Rock. They’re calling it “America’s Space Station” and it’s a custom-produced Internet music radio station that is crafted specifically to speak the language of tech-savvy young adults.

“NASA constantly is looking for new and innovative ways to engage the public and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers,” said David Weaver, Office of Communications at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “We have led the way in innovative uses of new media and this is another example of how the agency is taking advantage of these important communication tools.” The station will be operated at no cost to the government by the Space Act Agreement. Houston based RFC Media is collaborating on the execution.

The station’s format is alternative/indie/new rock. Space related career info and job listings will also be featured. I’m hoping that – in addition to the new stuff, there’s room for a few space tunes. I tuned in and was hoping for some older space themed classics like Dark Side of the Moon, Walking on the Moon, Space Truckin, and maybe even Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon. No such luck, the station’s definitely much hipper than that…give it a listen for yourself, here.

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