Coca-Cola’s efforts to target teens in South and Central America include a personalizable streaming platform, Coca-Cola.fm. While it is not available in the US, Coca-Cola.fm apparently targets teens, according to the press release: Coca-Cola.FM is a platform through which teens can also develop their own creations — a radio station in Mexico on which they can talk, be listened to and communicate with the world through their musical preferences.
The station is also available in Brazil, where an innovative new marketing effort has just been released. With the help of ad agency JWT, they’ve turned the cover of popular teen magazine Capricho into an ad for the streaming platform that turns into an iPhone speaker. Watch this…
In the new world of metered mobile data plans, Onavo has developed an app that is very useful in helping folks keep track of their usage and even select apps that use data efficiently. You can download their app onto your smartphone which compresses the data that your apps use.
Onavo recently published data on music apps – focused on which apps were most popular among Onavo users, and which apps are most efficient. Turns out that TuneIn‘s app is the most widely used with 6.6% of IPhone users per month. TuneIn is also very efficient, ranking below other popular apps in terms of data usage.
TuneIn is a music app that serves as a directory for more than 50,000 radio stations, both terrestrial and online. They have one of the most popular music apps on iTunes. (They used to be RadioTime.)
But where is Pandora, you might be asking, and that is a good question. In terms of app users they rank second, right behind TuneIn with 5.8% of Onavo iPhone users. But in terms of data usage they’re much thirstier, using almost 3 times the amount of data.
It’s not clear to me from the chart that they have factored in the possibility that Pandora listeners are listening longer as a reason why they are using up lots more data. This would be a good thing to know. But it’s a fun chart from an interesting company who’s got an interesting view on the industry..
Amazon has launched a cloud based music service that allows users to store their own music in music lockers and then listen to it on computers and other streaming devices. It’s been rumored that both Google and Apple are readying similar services, so this move by Amazon puts them ahead of the pack. They’re hardly the first – services like MP3Tunes have been offering a similar service for over a year.
But moving early gave them the nifty name – they’re calling it Amazon Cloud, making it difficult for Apple or Google to use the word Cloud in their branding. I’m sure part of their thinking in launching early is to capture the word Cloud and associate it with their product.
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this new service is the legal stand that Amazon took in launching it. While rumors of Apple and Google’s cloud based music streaming platforms have been brewing, supposedly delayed by tedious negotiations with the record labels, Amazon just went ahead and did it, taking the position that the music loaded in the lockers is owned by the user and no further licensing is needed.
Michael Robertson, Founder of MP3Tunes, has been in a legal battle over such issues with the record companies. His post about Amazon’s new service on his blog cheers Amazon’s entry into the space. “I must admit, it’s great to have a giant corporate ally in the battle against the record labels that are fighting against user’s storing their personal music libraries online.”
Amazon Cloud is definitely intended to increase sales from the AmazonMP3 store. Songs purchased through the store are automatically loaded into your personal music locker in Amazon Cloud. The service is well integrated with Android, and not integrated with iPhone. It does sync with iTunes. Several reviews point out that it seems to be pretty basic, look for further developments and improvements.
Michael Robertson is one of the most active entrepreneurs in the digital audio space. He’s started, funded and sold several online companies, including digital music company mp3.com to Vivendi/Universal, and VOIP/telecom Gizmo5 to Google. He’s the founder and CEO of mp3Tunes, a cloud based music storage and streaming service.
Now Robertson has launched a new business aimed at listeners who want to timeshift online listening. DAR.fm is a service that allows listeners to store audio from their favorite Internet radio streams via its Digital Audio Recorder, and then stream it back on demand. Users can schedule using just a web browser and then listen from a PC, iPhones, Android, internet radios and other devices. There is currently a list of 600 stations to choose from, no doubt this will expand as the service gains traction.
“Radio hasn’t changed much in 100 years and young people are listening to radio less.” says Robertson. “My hope is that DAR.fm modernizes radio by making it on demand, interactive and available on more than just your am/fm devices.” He adds that this is an “alpha” service that may “stop working or behave oddly” while they are fine-tuning the service.
Robertson is right – making traditional radio more flexible for listening could have a revolutionary impact on radio listening. A tool like this could essentially give listeners some of the control that online only stations have been able to build into their platforms. Broadcasters in particular could benefit – since their streams are often simple retransmissions of their over the air broadcasts and don’t offer listeners any interactive options, adding the ability to skip, playback and pause the recorded material.
There is one twist – while the service itself is legal, there’s a part of the DMCA that prevents streaming stations that use the webcasting compulsory license from promoting the recording of their streams. This was probably adopted, as were many of the other DMCA restrictions on streaming, to make it harder to slice up the streams into song segments – to prevent digital piracy (though, these days, there sure are easier ways to pirate songs if one is so inclined). It shouldn ‘t mean that Robertson and DAR.fm can’t operate or listeners can’t use the service, but it could impede stations from promoting it. Which would be a shame since it’s an interesting tool that could grow audience. On the other hand, perhaps the record labels will understand this and let it be…
Car stereo aftermarket sales rose in 2010 for the first time in a long time, thanks in part to Internet radio. Twice magazine says that new technologies such as Internet radios are the stimulus behind the more than 11% increase in automotive audio aftermarket sales.
There are several new technologies that have consumers excited – in addition to Internet radio, younger demo car buyers want touchscreens that enable iPod/iTouch integration and Facebook connectivity.
Manufacturers such as are excited – and they expect sales to continue to grow in 2011. The domino effect should be an increase in spending on car audio, which will boost awareness of the new devices even further. And what better place to advertise those connected devices than on the Internet radio stations themselves…
Last month Apple announced that the ten billionth app had been downloaded from the app store. Apple’s app store is a huge success that has revolutionized the way people use mobile devices, and the way online companies do business. Now every major mobile OS manufacturer has an app store, and Gartner recently predicted that 17.7 apps will be downloaded this year alone.
So it’s hardly a surprise that Apple wants a slice of the pie. They’ve announced big changes with regard to their app store that include, as the most controversial, their taking a 30% cut of all subscriptions that they drive to a company through their app store. Along with that, they are implementing changes in the platform that will make it much easier for mobile app customers to purchase apps from the store with one click. So, enhancements for the seller, enhancements for the buyer, and a cut for Apple.
Of course, the companies that had been enjoying lots and lots of app sales through the Apple app store without any rev share are not at all pleased. Rhapsody, as a subscription based on demand platform, was downright pissed off, calling Apple’s 30% share “untenable”, and adding that Google’s rumored-to-be-coming-soon 10% rev share was more reasonable.
So, the app party is kind of over, or at least the open bar has closed. I’m just not sure that it’s unreasonable that Apple wants a cut, a pretty big cut, of the money everyone is making off of their platform. If the improvements are so good that it’s as easy to subscribe as it is to download a free app I think companies will benefit. The problem now is that disappearing from the app store would be like cutting off a lifeline. Which may be the indication that Apple has earned a slice..
Emmis has implemented technology on all of its stations that enables visual song ID and tagging on mobile Apple devices. The system, called TagStation, was developed by Emmis Interactive, the innovative online division of Emmis, and Broadcast Electronics. Basically, it enables iPod, iTouch, iPhone and iTunes listeners to Emmis’ FM and HD stations to get artist and title on the radio display info and iTunes tagging.
What is iTunes tagging you might ask… According to info on the Apple website, it’s an easy way to hear a song on a station and click to tag that song – on a connected iPod device. Then when you sync the device with iTunes on a computer, a playlist of songs that you have tagged will show up, complete with handy links to download those songs on iTunes. Stations earn commissions on the songs sold through iTunes.
No doubt, stations also earn points with listeners for enabling this nifty technology that creates a much more interactive experience for FM and HD listeners. It is available to non-Emmis stations through either BE or Emmis Interactive.
2010 was the year that Internet radio finally became a household word – although to many that word may have been “Pandora“. Pandora’s popularity on iPhone and other smartphones really took hold this year, listening became more commonplace and many other stations benefitted as well. Apple‘s introduction of iPad created more excitement for Internet radio apps, and car manufacturers got into the game as well. Here’s a synopsis of key stories from the second half of the year…
August – In August Bridge Ratings gave us more interesting data on Internet radio’s audience, using Nielsen’s PRIZM lifestyle groupings to establish listening patterns among certain lifestyle groups. Not surprisingly, it’s the young, urban, educated and trend setting groups that are fueling adoption of Internet radio in the US.
September – September brought some interesting data on mobile music listening. According to eMarketer, 21.7 million listen to mobile music now and that number will grow to more than 52 million by 2014. comScore had the number even higher, with info showing that 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices during the 3 month average period ending in July, 2010 and close to 34 million (14.5%) of them listened to music on them.
October – In October I wrote that Pandora had recently announced that they had 65 million registered users, a number that increased 8% in three months. In the same post I noted recent words from Pandora’s Tim Westergren who pointed out that all of Internet radio is just 3% of radio listening right now while 90% is to broadcast radio. That, says Westergren, is where Pandora’s growth will come from.
November – In November Clear Channel announced a new partnership with Toyota to put their iheartradio streaming platform in cars, a first for broadcasters moving to work with car manufacturers to create streaming radio opportunities for their platforms in ways similar to Pandora/Ford. Live365 rolled out a new platform Athena 365, targeting women, and RadioTime put their tuner on Google TV.
December – In December we learned, from Coleman Insights, that some folks just prefer to listen online – of the 17% of the population that is streaming monthly, 48% say they don’t listen to any over the air radio. The report emphasized that listeners are not shunning AM/FM radio as much as choosing a preferred platform for listening, making it critical that broadcasters view all of their distribution technologies as equally important. There are indications that that is the case – BRS Media reported that more than 75% of broadcasters who featured Christmas music were doing so online.
In addition to lots of positive news and momentum, the industry as a whole began to shape up this year. RAIN Summits, the premiere educational and networking events for the industry, hosted several excellent events including a sold out event at the Radio Show in September. More people, more professionalism, more buzz – all good things for our burgeoning business.
Thanks for reading Audio4cast this year, I wish you a profitable and healthy 2011!
You probably caught the hullaballo about Apple rejecting single station radio apps forevermore, which turned out to be a false rumor. In fact, Fred Jacobs of JacAPPS, told us via Twitter yesterday morning that one of the apps they developed for a station in Chattanooga was approved.
Dan Anstandig reports in his weekly Radio3D that “Trudy Muller, an Apple spokesperson, told Radio3D, “There are many unique radio apps on the App Store, and we look forward to approving many more. One developer has attempted to spam the app store with hundreds of variations of essentially the same radio app, and that is against our guidelines.’”
Other reports have it that Apple has become a little more discriminating in their app approval process.
Whether Apple is or isn ‘t approving single station apps is only part of the point here, and this should be taken as a shot across the bow by broadcasters. Building an app that is simply a stream starter for a simulcast is not a great idea. Listeners aren’t likely to love it, and maybe Apple won’t either.
I don’t really know what was wrong with the apps that DJBApps recently had rejected, except that they reportedly did not provide an enriching end user experience. So if you’re going to invest in an app for your single station, make it a good one that gives a person something to play with, look at, interact with. Hire someone who can put some of your station’s personality into the app. But don’t expect the app to bring you a whole new audience, this is mainly a tool for your current listeners to use to listen on their smartphones.
To expand their audience, stations should be working together and building apps that feature lots of broadcast stations. How about a Philly or Boston Radio App that offers all the stations in an area along with news and information, restaurant and shopping guides, and more? A portal to area radio stations!
Pandora became famous because of the enormous popularity of its iPhone app. One click and the listener has access to millions of listening choices. The radio industry should be working on a way to offer its content cohesively that makes listening to their stations as appealing as that…