As we approach the end of the year, several articles have appeared proclaiming 2008 as a big year for Internet radio. ReadWriteWeb’s recap of the year in Internet radio summarizes the various trends that happened over the year that either propelled or signified the maturing of Internet radio, mentioning some of Clear Channel’s online content, and crediting CBSRADIO with making the most significant gains in the space with the purchase of Last.fm (that was actually in 2007), and partnerships with AOL and Yahoo online radio platforms to extend their reach and network. They’re right, CBSRADIO has had a huge year in online radio — and online radio is getting a lot of buzz as a result of their big deals.
The same article goes on to credit some other popular online radio brands – such as Pandora, with part of the buzz and lots of new listeners – stating that according to comScore that site grew 89% from July 07 to July 08. Pandora definitely has cache with listeners – mention Internet radio in a casual conversation and Pandora is the site people know about most often. They’ve single-handedly brought lots of new passionate listeners to the medium.
AdWeek released a list of Top Media and Marketing Innovations of 2008 and put CBSRADIO’s streaming player on the short list. While I’ll be the last to complain about Internet radio making the list, the article reads as though CBSRADIO invented streaming radio, or at least reinvented it when they launched a new player last summer: “Reinventing streaming, the player offered all that consumers expect of the Web, setting a new standard for how the oldest electronic medium can migrate to the newest.”
To be clear, CBSRADIO has made some bold, significant moves into steaming radio this year. They did launch a new player, and they have integrated all of their stations into the AOL platform. However, they have not either invented or reinvented streaming. Clearly, the CBS name has attracted attention, and people and publications are taking note. As a result, AdWeek felt compelled to add streaming radio to its list of the biggest innovations of the year. The industry benefits from CBSRADIO’s big moves in the space.
Reuters’ article also credits iPhone with adding to awareness and buzz about Internet radio this year. Clear Channel, CBS/AOL, Pandora, and Flycast were some of the streaming radio apps that experienced lots of downloads in the iPhone apps store and brought lots of new buzz to streaming radio. Next year we’ll see mobile streaming apps expand to other devices like Blackberry and Nokia. Mobility is an exciting prospect for Internet radio, as we are seeing with iPhone.
2009 will be another exciting year for Internet radio as mobile access expands through more and more devices and apps, other major players take positions in the medium, listenership continues to increase and advertisers spend more.