Monthly Archives: August, 2010

NPR’s Got Lots Of Listeners, Lots Of Web Traffic

By 9am on weekdays NPR‘s broadcast audience has peaked, while the online audience continues to build until mid afternoon. According to data NPR recently shared on their website, the broadcast audience peaks at 7am with about 2.3 million listeners in an average quarter hour. Two hours later that number is under 2 million and falling – while the streaming audience is ramping up.

The streaming audience peaks at about 70,000 at 2pm. Both the broadcast and streaming numbers drop for the rest of the afternoon, with the broadcast audience peaking to 2 million again at 5pm.

NPR.org’s deep online platform includes a large amount of programming from the 24 Hour Stream or archived shows like Morning Edition, NPR Newscasts, Car Talk, or NPR Music. The online number seems to indicate website traffic, and therefore counts visits to NPR’s blogs and news offerings on the site as well.

It’s very interesting data that underscores what a deep platform NPR has. By offering live and archived streamed programming and other website features, NPR is doing a nice job of expanding their brand.

Note: This post has been updated (9:50am) for better accuracy. Many thanks to Matt for his comments and insight.

VW’s Internet Radio Project

Volkswagen will soon begin testing connected radios in cars that will allow listeners to create personalized playlists. The new system, which VW expects to begin testing in 2011, will let listeners choose the content, and stream it directly to their device. Listeners will be able to choose from a variety of programming options and build a playlist.

Volkswagen has chosen, somewhat curiously, to call this a Hybrid Radio. I suspect that name, which has come to carry a meaning of alternative energy systems in cars, may change before the devices actually roll out in the US.

VW partnered with German radio and streaming station Hit-Radio Atenne Niedersachsen to develop the system. Testing will of course, begin in Germany. No word on when units will be available to US consumers.

Internet Radio Thrives In Germany

Four fifths of online radio stations in Germany are only available online, according to a newly released study by the Bavarian regulatory authority for commercial broadcasting – BLM and Berlin strategy consultant Goldmedia. The study is based on a survey of 2692 online radio operators in Germany in 2010.

Interest in online radio grows every year. About 11 million Germans listen to online radio at least occasionally, according to a 2009 Online Study 2009, and 12 percent of all Internet users are already using online radio regularly.

Other highlights from the study:

  • While FM radio channels are turned on mainly in the morning, online radio is mostly listened to in the evening.
  • About 44 percent of all streaming services are already available on mobile phones.
  • Mobile app services offered by stations have also increased. More than 70 percent of FM stations reported having heir own apps, all of them for the iPhone.
  • There has been a 40 percent increase in online radio services in Germany since 2009.

“The new study documents once again the significance online radio listening has already gained and shows how manifold and creative this medium is. Traditional radio stations are obviously taking on the challenges posed by new technology and actively creating new services.” says Stefan Sutor, Director of the Radio Department in the Division Programme of the BLM. The study also concludes that mobile streaming options will further the popularity of the medium, but notes that the challenge will be making the offers and new program formats economically successful.

Streaming Songs in Space

Space Songs

Image by sbfisher via Flickr

NASA is holding a contest to decide which songs will wake up the crew on the final two scheduled space shuttle missions. According to NASA, wakeup calls are a longstanding tradition of the program. Each day during the missions, flight controllers greet the crew with wake up music and messages.

To vote, you can visit the NASA website and stream songs from the NASA Top 40 – a list of songs played on previous missions, along with crew communications from those missions. It’s a great list that includes songs by many artists including U2, The Stones and The Clash, James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Buffett and more.

The two songs with the most votes from the top 40 list will be played as crew wakeup calls on the final scheduled flight of space shuttle Discovery scheduled to launch on Nov. 1. The winning songs will be announced and played during the flight.

A second contest invites artists to submit original songs for the last mission. Songs should be submitted by January 10, 2011. The public will also have a chance to vote on finalists and choose two that will be played on the final mission scheduled to launch on February 26, 2011.

You can visit the site, listen to the songs and vote here.

Best Buy’s New Internet Radio Device

I’m a fan of Chumby – mainly because of its name. Chumbys are tabletop internet radios and a lot more – they’re actually tabletop internet ready devices, designed to be a digital photo frame and alarm clock that also allows you to listen online, check news and weather, watch videos, play games.

Last year Sony licensed their unique dashboard for its Sony Dash. Now Best Buy has a new device – the Infocast – which uses the Chumby dashboard as well. Its on Best Buy’s house label Insignia, sells for $169, and would make a downright smart conversation starter on the desks of Internet radio executives. It looks more than a little like an iPad if you ask me.

The Infocast has an 8 inch touchscreen that is larger than the Chumby or Sony Dash screens. It has access to Pandora and Shoutcast, New York Times, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Photobucket. It even has a sharing feature that enables folks to share apps, photos and more with friends that have similar devices.

CNET calls it a best of breed, and I’m thinking it sounds like a winner for tech savvy family members this Christmas.

Streaming Increases Music Consumption

flickr credit: wstryder

Streaming is a very good thing for the music industry. So says a new study conducted on behalf of streaming services company Aspiro Music. Streaming music reduces illegal filesharing activity and increases overall listening to music.

The survey, conducted in Norway in June, shows that one of three Norwegians have now streamed music. A good 60% say they feel more up to date on music, 68% listen to more music and 72% say they often find music they didn’t know about prior to using a streaming service. Streaming increases both the total consumption of music, as well as broadening the range of music people listen to.

“We believe that efficient and payment-based streaming services will lead to better economy for artists, record labels and rights holders long term, and that it will turn around recent years descending revenue trend”, commented CEO of Aspiro Music Per Einar Dybvik.

Aspiro Music produces branded and white label streaming music services based on payment or subscription models to a variety of companies, including T-mobile.

Another Excellent Internet Radio Gathering

RAIN Summit East will take place on September 28th at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Washington DC. As many already know, RAIN Summits are super gatherings for folks interested or involved in Internet radio. This event is from 1-5 pm on tuesday September 28, with a cocktail party following. It will consist of an afternoon’s worth of interesting panels and speakers, followed by the best networking party of the year for folks in our industry.

Really. Don’t miss it.

Here’s some details you can use. If you are planning to attend the RAIN Summit AND the Radio Show that starts the next day in the same hotel, register through this link and you can basically attend both shows for the price of one. If not, you can register just for RAIN by clicking here.

Registration to the RAIN Summit includes a free entry to the RAIN Internet Radio Awards – provided you do so before the awards close on friday. The awards will be presented at RAIN Summit East.

This event is a nice chance for people on the East Coast who couldn’t make the trip to Vegas in the spring to attend a RAIN event. It’s a great chance to meet people, share ideas and get inspired. Hope to see you there!

Cool Online Music Discovery Site We Are Hunted

High on the list of cool music sites these days is We Are Hunted, a site that charts the 99 most popular songs on a daily basis by tracking what the web has to say. We Are Hunted watches blogs, social networks and forums, including Twitter,  MySpace, Spotify, Last.fm and others.

Headquartered in Queensland, Australia, We Are Hunted is a music discovery site. Each day it offers the 99 most popular Emerging, Popular and Remix tunes, plus the hottest tunes across the web in a bunch of genres such as Rock, Alternative, Pop, Folk, Punk, Metal, Electronic, and Hip Hop/Rap. You can toggle the lists between Artist and Song and play any of the songs on their charts. The songs stream from YouTube or the Artist’s sites.

It’s an incredibly simple website that displays album art from the songs, enables song downloads, playlists, and sharing. It’s interesting for its simplicity, and to understand the way the people play with music online these days.

It also seems to me to be a concept that stations could either integrate into their programming or duplicate with their own audience. Enabling listeners to discover new music and share it with their friends is the way of the web…

Digital Radio Fuels Growth

credit: Flickr alexkerhead

HD Radio units sold, currently at 3 million, will reach 4 million units by the end of this year, according to ABI Research. That number pales in comparison to the 13.5 million DAB radio receivers sold in Great Britain and Europe, but it’s a healthy increase of more than 25% this year. Digital radio technologies, including satellite radio and Internet radio, are expected to reverse trends of decreasing listenership to radio.

You got that right.

TWICE, a consumer electronics magazine recently produced a special print issue focusing on the changing nature of radio listening as well, citing satellite radio, digital radio and Internet radio as the fuel for future radio listening growth. Summarized in Radio World – an online industry publication, the article notes that the meaning of the word radio has changed to encompass all these various listening platforms.

“Like it or not, our industry consists of more (than) AM and FM over-the-air signals. If we don’t change our own thinking about that along with the market, we unnecessarily limit ourselves; we exclude radio’s businesses and our own careers from potentially exciting growth.”

The broadcast radio industry is at a crossroads. The choice…view themselves as audio content businesses and proceed to foster, develop and expand as many new listening technologies as they can, or remain focused on AM/FM over the air signals, sacrificing other channels.

The demands that FM receiver chips be mandatory in cellphones as part of a deal broadcasters are striking with record labels is a wrong turn for broadcasters. Heavyweight industry associations are lining up against it – Consumer Electronics Association president Gary Shapiro is incandescent with rage. “Rather than adapt to the digital marketplace, NAB and RIAA act like buggy-whip industries that refuse to innovate and seek to impose penalties on those that do.”

Slacker’s New Revenue Stream

Slacker Radio has announced a partnership with Hot Topic that will enable them to sell artist related merchandise to listeners. Slacker Personal Radio web listeners can click an icon while playing an artist to view and purchase artist-related merchandise, ranging from t-shirts, to hoodies, to DVD’s and vinyl records, from ShockHound, a Hot Topic subsidiary.

“Partnering with ShockHound and Hot Topic to offer the apparel and accessories of our listeners’ favorite music is an exciting extension of the Slacker Personal Radio experience,” said Jonathan Sasse, senior vice president of marketing at Slacker.

Shockhound has an extensive catalog of artist-inspired t-shirts, hats, jackets, pins, backpacks, posters and much more.

This is a great way for online stations to extend their marketing beyond song downloads. Slacker Radio’s service encourages listeners to interact, refining their stations to suit their personal music experience. Now listeners can listen to their favorite artists and buy band merchandise at the same time. It’s a formula that builds on people’s passion about their music, and a great new revenue opportunity for Slacker…

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