Monthly Archives: October, 2009

Google’s New Music Playground

Google provided details of their Discovery music platform on a live press conference wednesday at 4pm pt. The big deal that leaked last week and was fully outlined during the presentation is that Google is integrating a music search feature into Google Search.

According to Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search Product and User Experience at Google, two of the top ten most searched for terms of all time on Google are music and lyrics. Which speaks to the fact that people are looking for it, and don’t know where to go to find it. With Google’s new Music Discovery platform, you can search for music by band, singer, song, album or lyrics, and the results that are returned to you will allow a full song streamed play along with a purchase opportunity and other stuff.

google music

Gracenote will partner with Google to enable full lyric searches; MySpace/iLike and Lala will provide the full song streaming piece. Other partners include Imeem, Pandora and Rhapsody, which are sites that music searches will feature as places where listeners can go to discover more music.

By all they outlined, it looks like Google has created a music search platform that will singlehandedly revolutionize online music. From building in full song plays for searches, to providing full lyric searches and offering resources to listeners for more music, they’ve created a music lover’s playground that will grow foster, grow and encourage online music. It’s a powerful position for Google, but a great one for all of online radio as well.

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British Radio Groups See Digital Future

brit flagIn the category of what-a-great-idea comes this: in England, the BBC (non-commercial radio) and commercial radio will join forces to set up the Radio Council, to focus specifically on radio’s digital future. Representatives will include the BBC as well as England’s three largest radio groups – Global Radio, GMG Radio, and Bauer Media, along with RadioCentre, a trade group that will represent all other commercial radio entities.

Reportedly, the new group will work to establish are a shared online live radio player, portal and a range of exclusive content to help boost struggling digital audio broadcasting (DAB) stations. The group will focus on digital radio in the forms of DAB and online, and will focus on devices, platforms and marketing to bring radio closer to a digital switchover.

There are lots of reasons behind this move that basically boil down to a growing concern that if radio does not move more quickly to digital platforms it will be left behind in the digital age. Andrew Harrison, the RadioCentre chief executive, said “This exciting new initiative kick-starts our collective approach to ensuring radio is at the heart of Digital Britain.”

A unified group focused on supporting digital development for radio. With the support of traditional broadcast groups and trade associations, it sure sounds like they mean business…

Flycast Spreads its Wings

New mobile app for Radioio by Flycast

New mobile app for Radioio by Flycast

Flycast is a lot more than a mobile platform for streaming Internet radio stations. According to their press release this week, deploying Internet radio content on the mobile web is just a piece of what their technology is built for. Their new ADdapt platform was built for radio and video content broadcasters, musicians, labels, sports entities and distribution networks, concert promoters and other pay per event content and advertisers seeking branded channels/apps.

This new Flycast platform can create branded mobile destination websites and apps for mobile devices and provide ad management services like insertion, trafficking and reporting. More sophisticated technological goodies include a mobile personal media recorder (PMR) and time shifting capabilities.

Flycast’s ad platform enables delivery of audio, video and various display ad formats. Other monetization options include site sponsorships, content subscription services (one-time or renewing), pay per event/pay per view services, app sales, in-app upgrade sales (freemium concept) and product and content sales. They have also integrated Google’s DoubleClick DART for Publishers platform for trafficking and reporting our ad insertions.

Flycast is redefining itself as more than a radio-specific streaming mobile platform, which is a fine thing. There’s been a trend among broadcasters to do business only with vendors that were willing to spoon feed radio packaged technology to the stations. It’s nice to hear a vendor assimilate streaming radio stations with many types of entertainment content providers instead.

The mobile web audience grew by a third in the past year. Global mobile advertising is expected to climb 19% to $3.3 billion in 2010. And that’s before it accelerates in 2011. It’s a good time for Flycast to introduce a revenue focused mobile solution, and a good time for stations to rev up their streaming mobile strategy.

Consumer Media Study Highlights Impact of Digital Media on Radio

A newly released study done by Targetcast, a communications firm, has some good and bad news for broadcast radio.  The good: Adults 18 to 64 were found to still consider radio to be an important touchpoint for new music discovery. The not-so-good: 18 to 24 year olds were likely to indicate that radio is not so relevant to them.

Released study findings show that consumers indicate that several traditional media including newspapers, magazines and, to a lesser degree, radio, will need to change the most in the coming years. Newspapers led the pack of media needing to change, with nearly 60% of consumers surveyed identifying this medium as the one that will need to change the most – compared to 30% for magazines and 20% for radio.targetcast chart

Another notable discovery from the research: Men are more likely than women to replace radio with digital alternatives such as mp3 players or Internet stations, while women are more likely to stick with their favorite radio stations.

The bottom line should be taken as a shot across the bow by broadcast radio: “41% of those surveyed indicate that radio is still relevant in today’s media environment. According to respondents, radio provides a great venue to discover new music that cannot be experienced elsewhere. Maybe somewhat surprising, respondents overall prefer to listen to music through the radio station vs. Internet stations or on their mp3 player. ” However, within that overall conclusion there are several key demographics that are indicating a willingness to transfer their affinity to digital music sources including personal devices such as Internet radio, ipods, iphones and other multi-media devices.

Rumors About Google Music

google_logo_smallMy inbox was all about Google’s rumored new music service yesterday.

Early in the day Techcrunch wrote: Google will soon launch a music service, we’ve heard from multiple sources, and the company has spent the last several weeks securing content for the launch of the service from the major music labels. One source has referred to the new service as Google Audio.”

Later, Techcrunch modified their report with additional information that Google will partner with music services LaLa, iLike, and MySpace (which owns iLike), and that full details will be announced next week.

And still more from Techcrunch a little later: From information we’ve gathered from sources, the new service will be integrated into Google search. Users will be able to stream songs directly from Google via partners iLike and LaLa. Additional information around the music query will be provided to users as well.” They also reported that listeners will be able to purchase songs for download.

From all of that as well as stuff I got from a few contacts and some twitter watching, it looks to me like Google is getting in to the music game. I heard that what Google has planned will be good for the online music space and will be complementary to other offerings. I gather that Google will enable searches for music. It sounds like search results will feature music services LaLa and iLike, but I think that it might not just be those services that benefit, that maybe they’re just the first partners, beta partners per se. I assume that the vast amount of music on YouTube will play a big part in this, and I suspect they’ll be room for others as well.

For the rest, we may have to wait until October 28th…

Triton’s Latest Digital Deal

tritonThis week, Triton Media Group, a company that has aggregated many digital tools that enable radio broadcasters to extend their online offerings, has announced their latest deal with Internet radio site Jelli. Jelli is a neat digital audio platform that uses crowdsourcing technology to give listeners input on what gets played on the air.

In June, Jelli launched a pilot with CBS Radio Bay Area affiliate LIVE 105 KITS. The Sunday night Jelli show on LIVE 105 has been a ratings success, and two freshly inked deals have put Jelli in the pipeline for thousands more stations worldwide. Now Triton’s Dial Global, a company that syndicates radio programming to a national network of broadcast stations, will make Jelli available to Triton’s more than 4,500 radio affiliations in the United States. Beginning in early 2010, Triton Radio Networks, through Dial-Global, will syndicate two daily Jelli programs – Top 40 Jelli and Rock Jelli – while Triton Digital will offer affiliates customized, 24/7 online Jelli experiences.

Jelli is a fun way to infuse even greater excitement, and a dose of unpredictability, to live FM, HD and streaming radio formats,’’ said Jim Kerr, vice president of strategy for Triton Digital Media.  “Jelli combines the engagement, challenge and teamwork of a video game; the personalization and sharing of music we see in social networks; and a traditional broadcast that brings the experience to the masses.’’

Jelli is a great tool that stations can use to weave an online interactive experience into a  broadcast station’s platform. Fusing online and offline programming is a great way to co-brand broadcast and Internet content platforms. CBSRadio has been experimenting with this concept not just with KITS in the Bay Area, but also with stations in LA, New York and other large markets where they recently launched Last.fm HD Channels, taking music, playlists, and music charts from that online station’s listener generated activity, combining it with other unique content from Last.fm such as interviews  and performances, and creating a branded HD channel.

Now Triton offers stations two ways to integrate an online experience into their broadcast programming, with either the plug and play syndicated show, or a more customized Jelli experience.

Network Radio To Spend More on Internet Radio in 2010

rbrOnline radio industry magazine Radio Business Report recently polled key network radio supervisors around the country to get their perspective on the 2010 upfront. RBR’s Carl Marcucci asked each person to discuss their ad spends on streaming/digital media as well, and those answers were very upbeat.

Horizon’s Maja Mijatovic, who spends for Geico as well as other clients, gave the most positive feedback, saying her agency’s spend will be “much stronger than 2009.  Sellers have been working diligently in providing interesting solutions which in turn peaked agency/clients’ interest.  Overall bringing more accountability to the overall audio buy.  Excellent job on the part of the sellers.” OMD’s Natalie Swed Stone noted that dollars from that shop will increase as it (Internet radio) “becomes more mainstream.” Kim Vasey of MediaEdge and Eileen Casey of Zenith both indicated that spending levels will increase to match a growing audience and more digital offerings.

I contacted Brian Benedik of Katz360, one of the firms responsible for developing Internet radio dollars at these agencies, to get his perspective on network radio dollars moving to Internet radio. He said they’re definitely seeing a move to invest more dollars into online radio. “They have seen the growth on the consumer side,… the emerging mobile audio consumption… It’s become more mainstream and they want their clients aligned with it,” says Benedik, adding that some network buyers who have been reluctant to put dollars into Internet radio earlier are influenced by what others are doing as well as by their clients’ interest.

Satellite radio and HD Radio did not fare so well in Marcucci’s poll. While some indicated that spends on satellite radio will remain the same next year, no one showed much interest in investing in HD Radio, with Swed Stone noting that it “hasn’t achieved critical mass.”

Internet radio has taken several giant steps this year, including arriving at a uniform standard for audience measurement that makes it easier for agencies to recommend it. At the same time, the medium benefited from the leap of streaming radio to mobile devices such as iPhone and Blackberry, increasing public awareness and interest, and grabbing the attention of advertisers and their agencies. Combined with years of groundwork, these factors have provided momentum that should help grow the flow of dollars to Internet radio.

Internet Radio Stations Play More Artists Than Broadcast Stations

The number of unique artists played on Internet radio stations is more than 32 times the number of unique artists played on broadcast/terrestrial radio. According to data supplied by streamSerf, a company that monitors and reports on music played on terrestrial, Internet and satellite radio stations, last month broadcast radio stations played 25,399 unique artists (US, including public radio stations) while Internet radio stations played 829,971 unique artists in the same time period!

“There is room for a more diverse, less centralized music scene in the world today – and this is being created and facilitated by technology and internet radio.” says Paul Mockenhaupt, Founder of streamSerf. streamSerf is an important tool that enables independent artists who are marketing their music on the Internet to track their success.  “streamSerf.com is the ONLY tool available for these artists to measure their efforts, track their spins, plan their tours, validate their promotional campaigns, find stations that play [similar] music, check their royalty payments, etc.”

It’s not shocking to learn that Internet radio is more diverse. There are more choices for the listener, and more determination by the stations themselves to provide alternative music to the basic cookie-cutter formats and playlists provided on broadcast radio. It is stunning to learn that Internet radio’s list of unique artists is greater than broadcast radio’s by 3600%. (It should be noted that these stats do not even include stations that stream individualized channels, such as Pandora.)

Also interesting is the list of artists that get the most plays on broadcast stations versus Internet radio stations. While some of the top ten artists are the same on either list, others are very different:

courtesy of streamSerf

courtesy of streamSerf

According to Mockenhaupt, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. He says the real story isn’t in the top 10, or even the top 1000…” it’s the new, fresh, undiscovered, local, home grown music that’s filling the internet airwaves!” Internet radio gives voice to the long tail of music, providing entry for many musicians that have never had a platform before. That, he says, is the “magic” of Internet radio…

Internet Radio with No Cavities

Flickr photo credit: Eperales

Flickr photo credit: Eperales

Custom Channels is a company in the business of creating customized streaming channels for other businesses. One of their best known projects is that they create Christmas music channels that many broadcast stations put on their websites and sell to retailers around the holidays. They handle everything, providing streaming services, programming, and all royalties, making it nice and easy for businesses to have their own customized Internet radio channel.

Now they’ve created Smile Radio, an Internet radio station for dentist offices. Music that has been “handpicked to enhance the sound and atmosphere of a dentist office.”

Dr. Anil Idiculla of Park Meadows Orthodontics in Denver said, “the power of music is highly underrated in today’s offices. It affects your patients, your team members, and more importantly, your daily productivity…Smile Radio is the total package…current music, playlists, and customization.”

So here’s what I love about this. Custom Channels has come up with a new way to market their product. They’ve created a new, unique marketplace for themselves that sets them apart from other streaming content platforms, and gives them an endless list of potential customers. Their very own blue ocean. And you can’t beat the name – Smile Radio – it’s fun, memorable and smart at the same time. Listening to it probably prevents cavities too…

 

Turning YouTube into a Jukebox

youtubeA couple of new streaming music sites have launched recently that use YouTube, the massive video sharing site, as their source of music. Youtube has millions of songs on its site, including live shows, bootlegged copies, and stuff that’s hard to find elsewhere. In a new twist on streaming music services, TubeRadio and Muziic have come up with ways to turn Youtube into a jukebox for listeners.

Muziic was created by 15 year old developer David Nelson. It requires a download, has a neat user interface that offers you the chance to search for music, listen to Internet radio stations, watch music videos, build playlists, chat with friends, or post what you are listening to on Twitter. All the functions are right on the player, it’s very easy to use. I searched for the song that’s been in my head for the past few weeks, I’ve Got a Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas, and had the choice of watching them play it live in concert, or watching the Jonas Brothers play it live in concert, or any number of people play it on their guitars or dance to it, in their bedrooms, living rooms, or yards.

TubeRadio is a web based platform that does essentially the same thing. Because it is web based you can access it from anywhere. In addition to similar playlist building and socializing tools, it offers a pretty cool discography feature that enables you to type in any artists name, and have a list of the albums displayed. Choose an album, and TubeRadio will serve up a list of the songs in album order from the resources on YouTube for your listening pleasure.

British TubeRadio Founder Rogerio Mota said he noticed a friend who didn’t own much music used YouTube whenever she had friends over as a source of music, so he thought to create a more user friendly interface for building playlists. YouTube is a vast source of unique online music and related content – possibly the best source of live recordings and interviews on the web.

These services effectively put video options into streaming radio. Can you say game changer? I wouldn’t bet against it…

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