Are you familiar with turntable.fm? The latest hip streaming music startup is getting funding from Fred Wilson‘s Union Square Ventures. It’s Internet radio gone social, and it’s getting lots of buzz. Founded by Seth Goldstein and Billy Chasen, both of whom have been around digital startups before, this site has a social twist that should help it build an audience.
Listeners can choose to listen in any number of “listening rooms” or create their own and invite their friends. It’s still in beta, you need to already know someone who is in (and be friends with them on facebook) to get invited. But even that seems to be part of the cache – and they already have more than 300,000 users.
Turntable.fm is the kind of site that could even be compatible with other streaming music sites. Paste Magazine recently held a listening party for English folk-rock band Slow Club’s upcoming disc Paradise. And why couldn’t any DJ or station do the same? Host a listening party, invite your listeners, and let turntable.fm pay the royalties.
I’m intrigued by the idea that some of these emerging streaming platforms are compatible rather than competitive with other music platforms. I know a lot of folks, particularly in the broadcast industry, subscribe to the “walled garden” way – but perhaps it’s possible to use turntable.fm to extend your station’s brand and your relationship with your audience, without having to build it yourself. Maybe a place like turntable.fm is where everyone goes when they want to hang out and listen with friends.
If you have a station and give it a try, please let me know..
With Pandora moving to release radio-like ratings in top ten markets, there’s a lot of focus on Internet radio ratings these days. Some broadcast radio traditionalists are trying to argue against the validity of those ratings, but the reality is that Pandora has large amounts of listeners in the top ten markets (and probably beyond). With server based measurement and registered user targetability, it’s easy to verify that audience and deliver impressions to them. They are a viable competitor for radio dollars in those marketplaces, and foolish is the buyer that refuses to consider them, especially for younger demographic buys where their presence is especially significant.
Now Arbitron, as told to Inside Radio last week, is preparing to launch its “total audience measurement initiative” in the coming year which will offer measurement options for streaming broadcast stations as well as online only “pureplay” stations such as Pandora. Details are sketchy and rumors – such as Arbitron in talks to purchase Triton Digital’s Webcast Metrics audience measurement service – abound.
If indeed Arbitron is moving in the direction of offering a service that will enable stations to bundle up their audiences – online, over the air, mobile, etc., that will be a good thing. Gone are the days when the only way to count listeners is to make sure they are all hearing the same thing at the same time. Stations need to be able to nimbly separate or aggregate listeners from different platforms, target messages to them, and report listening to advertisers precisely. Tools that enable that will help win dollars.
These are interesting days for the industry. Audience measurement platforms that provide better data will benefit everyone.
RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter will present the second annual RAIN Internet Radio Awards on September 13th at the Hyatt Regency Chicago during the RAIN Summit Chicago. There is still time for services to enter the competition. The second annual awards will recognize industry excellence in several areas: Best Overall Online Service, Best Streaming Broadcast Station, Best Overall Digital Strategy and Best Single Stream Webcaster.
If you are a part of this industry, support this effort to recognize industry excellence by entering your service or your favorite service.
The deadline for entries has been extended until this coming Sunday. Entering is as simple as answering five short questions. Participate in your industry – enter the awards today!
Nielsen recently presented a white paper study of streaming audio usage rates in several European countries and the USA. The study shows that streaming audio usage is growing at different rates in France, Spain, the UK, Germany, Italy and the US. Licensing issues and other factors such as awareness and understanding of streaming audio were some reasons for the discrepancies.
The USA has the widest offering of streaming audio services of all the countries. In the US, Nielsen watched behavior with an extensive list of sites – Pandora, Last.fm, Rhapsody, Jango, Napster, Project Playlist, Slacker, Mog, ReverbNation, Scour, TuneGenie, AudioRealm, iHeartRadio, Goom Radio, Mixcloud, Blip.fm and LiveMixtapes.com and notes that Pandora is undisputedly the dominant streaming service in the States. Streaming music audio services’ active reach in the USA was 10.2%. The services reach mainly younger consumers with the largest group of consumers females 18-24 at 18% reach in that demographic. Nielsen also notes that overall streaming audio is more popular with women than men.
That’s the case in Spain as well where streaming audio services Myspace.com, Los40.com, Last.fm, Rockola.fm, Yes.fm, Vagos.fm, and Spotify reach 18% of the population, 31% of 18-34 year olds and more women than men.
The French streaming audio music scene is dominated by Deezer, MusicMe, Last.fm and Spotify, reaching more women than men in a similar demographic spread. Average time spent listening in France is lower than in the UK or Spain, according to the study.
For the purpose of the study, Nielsen identified popular services in each country, as noted above. For the UK, they looked at We7, Spotify and Last.fm. Active reach was just 5.2%, much lower than the other countries in the study, but 18-24 year olds are still streaming lots – the reach in that demographic is 21%.
German consumers buck all the trends. More men than women are streaming, and while the reach of streaming audio is 5.5%, there’s little difference between that share and the 18-34 demographic – just 8.3% of men and 6% of women 18-34 are using tape.tv, Last.fm and Simfy.
Last week while I was enjoying some time away from phones and computers Pandora stirred things up a bit by releasing data showing their significant audience in top ten markets. They presented the research which had been “analyzed and converted” by Edison Research, at a Pandora Radio Innovator’s Summit for media buyers and agency folks.
Pandora chose to use Average Quarter Hour (AQH) as their unit of measurement. AQH is the standard for measurement for traditional radio, Triton Digital has attempted to replace that with a term called Average Active Session, in its monthly Webcast Metrics report. Both terms refer to the average number of listeners in a certain demo and a certain daypart.
In the top ten markets, Pandora’s AQH rating ranged from a .5 to a .9 – highly respectable ratings – in the A18-34 demographic. That puts them, according to RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter, above all the local terrestrial stations in each of the top five markets. Pandora beats out Z100 and Hot97 in NYC and KIIS in LA in their own target demographics.
Although some folks immediately tried to discredit Pandora’s figures, claiming that since each listener is listening to its own stream, the audience data can’t be aggregated into one AQH number. I just don’t think buyers will see it that way – when it comes to buying impressions I think they’re willing to look at impressions on unique streams in the same way they are willing to view a simulcast audience.
Edison’s analysis is logical: they noted how many listeners there were and how long they listened, tossed sessions under 5 minutes, and converted the data into AQH using standard methodology. Pandora’s significant audience in top ten markets should boost buying interest in their platform, and hopefully streaming radio overall as well.
On a related note, Pandora saw some positive ratings from Wall Street Investment firms last week as Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Citigroup and Wells Fargo issued a buy rating for the stock . Last Monday was the first day that analysts were allowed to comment on the stock.