2011 is turning out to be a good year for the record industry, which is seeing growth year over year sales for the first time since 2004. Digital album sales are leading the way in terms of growth – they’re up 19% over 2010. Digital track sales are up 11%. Overall music sales are up 8.5% to $821 million.
In early July Eminem‘s Recovery became the first digital album to sell more than a million units, with Adele‘s 21 not far behind. Earlier in the year the Black Eyed Peas made themselves the first to sell more than 7 million digital song downloads of I Gotta Feeling.
Clear Channel and Bob Pittman are going all out with the launch of their “New iHeartRadio.” For months Pittman has been promising a new and improved Clear Channel streaming platform. The New iHeartRadio will deliver to users the nation’s most popular broadcast radio stations as well as the ability to create custom stations with even more songs and more control than the leading custom radio station services.
The new service will launch with a bang – Clear Channel is using its clout and record label relationships to promote the launch The New iHeartRadio with “the largest concert event in radio history.” The event will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on two consecutive nights, September 23 and 24.
The lineup for the concert event is truly impressive, including many big names such as Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler, The Black Eyed Peas, Jane’s Addiction, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Rascal Flatts, Jennifer Lopez and more. It will be hosted by Ryan Seacrest, the popular host of American Idol. In fact the lineup has a distinctly “Idol” flavor, probably thanks to Clear Channel’s relationship with Simon Fuller, creator of that show.
“This underscores Clear Channel’s transformation to a dynamic integrated media and entertainment company with an unmatched reach in the US,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman of Media and Entertainment Platforms for Clear Channel Radio. The New iHeartRadio will offer users a much broader, more integrated and customized digital listening experience than any other service available – and it’s all in one product.”
Live audio and video streams of the iHeartRadio Music Festival will be available online and listeners will be able to enter to win tickets as well. “This is a once in a generation gathering of artists and fans from all over the country for a true, must-see music event,” said Ryan Seacrest, host of American Idol and Clear Channel Radio Personality.
While I haven’t seen the platform, I have to agree that the launch is impressive. It’s the kind of thing that a company like Clear Channel, with established recording artists relationships and an expansive network of broadcast and digital offerings, should be doing.
Pittman has made no bones about his ambitions with regard to Internet radio, he’s had his sights set on Pandora for a while. The new service will reportedly offer more interactivity than Pandora in terms of song skipping, something that Pandora currently limits to 2 songs an hour. iHeartRadio will also offer its service ad-free through the end of the year.
A very interactive Internet radio service with a high caliber kickoff is something I’d expect from a major media giant who thinks Internet radio is looking pretty good. I’m thinking Clear Channel and iHeartRadio just might be in it to win it…
A 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…