Streaming music may be getting all the attention, but one streaming platform is getting plenty of traction with streaming talk programming. Stitcher lets listeners select from a long list of streamed radio and listen to it when they want, from lots of devices.
The platform has been around for quite awhile, and got a little bit of attention a while back when it landed a big deal with Ford – alongside Pandora, which got all the publicity. Now Stitcher also has deals with GM and Buick as well, with features that include voice activation. Stitcher started out positioning itself as a podcasting tool, which could explain why it stayed lower on the radar than some other streaming tools that have gotten more publicity.
Stitcher takes the best parts of podcasting – the ability to listen to high quality, mainly talk programming, on-demand, and makes it much more convenient by eliminating the need for syncing or updating. Listeners can create “stations” that include all the content they want, and then listen to it when they want. It’s a great option for folks who like to listen online but want more than their music streams.
Stitcher is also a great option for content providers. They’ve just announced a new deal with SModcast, one of the biggest podcast shows on iTunes that will create a 24/7 Internet radio station that will feature live and archived radio programs from Kevin Smith, Jennifer Schwalbach and Jason Mewes and be available on Stitcher’s free mobile and iPad™ apps.
Stitcher pulls content from more than 5000 media sources into a handy streaming tool that auto manufacturers have identified as a basic element for dashboards. That makes it an important platform for content providers who are looking for in-dash exposure as well…
Pandora’s multi year expansive ad deal with Toyota sure sounds like a big deal. Called the “Legends and Icons” campaign, it pairs various Toyota cars with music genres and artists on Pandora. It will be the largest campaign in scope and span to ever run across all of the Pandora Internet radio advertising platforms and will feature exclusive content from an expansive roster of internationally acclaimed and award-winning musicians.
The campaign launched last week and runs through early 2013. It’s expansive in scope – each month will pair a Toyota vehicle with a demo and a genre station on Pandora. For example, this month the target demographic is Adults 18-49 and the genre station is Top 40. The campaign will be featured across multiple Pandora Internet radio platforms, including the web, mobile, iPad, as well as video and curated mixtape stations created by the artists themselves that include never-before-heard audio content.
It’s a deal that grew out of an earlier deal that put Pandora’s Internet radio in Toyota cars via their Entune multimedia system. That deal was announced in January at CES. “We have enjoyed working with Toyota on an innovative approach to connecting with drivers by leveraging their passion for music,” said John Trimble, Pandora Chief Revenue Officer.
“Pandora shares the same innovative and creative spirit as Toyota, making it the ideal partner for this enduring, multi-platform campaign.”said Kim Kyaw, senior media strategist for Toyota.
This deal puts emphasis on the relatively new Pandora genre channels, which are pre-programmed rather than personalized streams. This is a direction that Pandora is going to need to head in as they make their way onto more and more automotive devices, where the ability of the listener to interact with the platform while driving is limited.
Given the addition of Pandora to new Toyota vehicles, Toyota probably got a pretty good deal on this ad campaign…
2010 was the year that Internet radio finally became a household word – although to many that word may have been “Pandora“. Pandora’s popularity on iPhone and other smartphones really took hold this year, listening became more commonplace and many other stations benefitted as well. Apple‘s introduction of iPad created more excitement for Internet radio apps, and car manufacturers got into the game as well. Here’s a synopsis of key stories from the second half of the year…
August – In August Bridge Ratings gave us more interesting data on Internet radio’s audience, using Nielsen’s PRIZM lifestyle groupings to establish listening patterns among certain lifestyle groups. Not surprisingly, it’s the young, urban, educated and trend setting groups that are fueling adoption of Internet radio in the US.
September – September brought some interesting data on mobile music listening. According to eMarketer, 21.7 million listen to mobile music now and that number will grow to more than 52 million by 2014. comScore had the number even higher, with info showing that 234 million Americans ages 13 and older used mobile devices during the 3 month average period ending in July, 2010 and close to 34 million (14.5%) of them listened to music on them.
October – In October I wrote that Pandora had recently announced that they had 65 million registered users, a number that increased 8% in three months. In the same post I noted recent words from Pandora’s Tim Westergren who pointed out that all of Internet radio is just 3% of radio listening right now while 90% is to broadcast radio. That, says Westergren, is where Pandora’s growth will come from.
November – In November Clear Channel announced a new partnership with Toyota to put their iheartradio streaming platform in cars, a first for broadcasters moving to work with car manufacturers to create streaming radio opportunities for their platforms in ways similar to Pandora/Ford. Live365 rolled out a new platform Athena 365, targeting women, and RadioTime put their tuner on Google TV.
December – In December we learned, from Coleman Insights, that some folks just prefer to listen online – of the 17% of the population that is streaming monthly, 48% say they don’t listen to any over the air radio. The report emphasized that listeners are not shunning AM/FM radio as much as choosing a preferred platform for listening, making it critical that broadcasters view all of their distribution technologies as equally important. There are indications that that is the case – BRS Media reported that more than 75% of broadcasters who featured Christmas music were doing so online.
In addition to lots of positive news and momentum, the industry as a whole began to shape up this year. RAIN Summits, the premiere educational and networking events for the industry, hosted several excellent events including a sold out event at the Radio Show in September. More people, more professionalism, more buzz – all good things for our burgeoning business.
Thanks for reading Audio4cast this year, I wish you a profitable and healthy 2011!
If you’re trying to think of a creative gift for someone this Christmas, streaming devices could be the way to go. Everyone’s buzzing about Pandora, and I find that when the topic comes up most people are interested in hearing about other ways to listen as well. Here’s a rundown of some options that are getting nice reviews.
Livio Radio. These radios are essentially plug and play Internet radio devices. You turn them on, they find the Internet and in a few minutes you’re streaming your favorite station. Pick a model that’s branded for Pandora or NPR, or one that isn’t (either way you can tune in thousands of stations). CNET and others give it high marks.
Chumby. This cute cube is really an Internet radio and more – it’s actually a tabletop internet ready device, 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. Sony liked it so much they licensed its dashboard for their own Sony Dash.
Motorola T505. How about a bluetooth device that enables streaming from your iPhone to your fm car radio? There are several, my husband uses this one and cancelled his Sirius XM subscription over a year ago with no regrets. Now he streams Pandora and other stations to his car stereo with this device. It clips to your visor, tells you where to tune in, and is very easy to use.
Apple TV. In case you haven’t read about Apple’s new AirPlay technology, it’s all about sending streams from handheld devices to home stereo equipment and it’s getting a lot of praise. The Apple TV costs just 99 bucks and it’s getting great reviews for easily connecting your iPhone, iTouch, iPad to your television or home stereo.
Give streaming music to everyone this year – it’s a hot gift that will make them happy and grow the user base at the same time…
In the interest of full disclosure I’d like to point out that I work with Livio Radio as a consultant. And I listen to one too!
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.
Michael Robertson thinks people should be able to listen to their digital music anywhere on any device. That’s exactly what MP3tunes sets out to do.
Robertson, the founder of MP3tunes, is a huge advocate of cloud based music services. He’s no stranger to the vengeance that record labels have when it comes to protecting digital song copyright law (as they define it.) In fact, he’s actually taken it on the chin before against the record companies – in the late 90’s he founded MP3.com, which he eventually sold to CNET after losing an expensive legal battle with Universal. His new service MP3tunes is currently involved in a lawsuit with EMI over copyright infringement issues.
“I think ownership is critical important in the digital age and worth fighting for.” said Robertson. “I think consumers should be able to choose where they want to use their digital property as they can with their physical property. I don’t want a corporation to be able revoke or limit access – as we’ve seen happening with Apple and Amazon.”
MP3tunes currently has over 500,000 registered users who upload their entire music collection to servers and access it from wherever they want. MP3tunes works on multiple smartphones platforms: Android, iPhone/iTouch, (iPad version waiting for approval) and many Internet radio devices (it’s compatible with devices that use vTuner and Reciva firmware.) This week they’ll introduce a deal with Roku that will enable access to music lockers on televisions.
Currently, the business model is a freemium model that offers listeners smaller sized lockers for free and charge a subscription fee for more storage space. But additional revenue sources like e-commerce and advertising may be in the cards as well.
Pandora launched their iPad application the same weekend that Apple began selling the popular devices. After watching their mobile audience and popularity explode via their iPhone app, they didn’t need any convincing that Apple’s app store is a great place to pick up listeners. Pandora has 30 million mobile users and says that 70% of persons who have downloaded a smartphone app have downloaded theirs.
Now they’re highlighting the first ad campaigns on the new devices. Starbucks, Lexus and Budweiser are the first brands on the new Pandora iPad advertising platform with campaigns that “make the most of one or more of the rich video, audio and interactive capabilities of the iPad.”
John Trimble, Chief Revenue Officer of Pandora, said, “Our debut advertisers have gone all out with eye-popping creative that really works in the anything-can-be-done world of the iPad.”
“As the exclusive automotive partner for the Pandora iPad application, we look forward to showcasing our new brand commercial to this audience of early adopters,” states Dave Nordstrom, vice president of marketing for Lexus. The Lexus video spot shows a vehicle revving up to the point that it breaks a champagne glass:
All three brands, Lexus, Starbucks and Budweiser have designed interactive campaigns with video elements that open up a new page but don’t interrupt the music. The iPad offers a richer media experience. They’re hoping to improve on Pandora’s already impressive 3.4% click-through rate.
I’m thinking it was a pretty smart move by these advertisers to take the lead on Pandora’s iPad ad platform. The magic of the device makes people want to pick it up and play with it, so creating ad campaigns that allow them to do just that can only be a good thing for Bud, Lexus and Starbucks…
Apple has announced that it will shut down on demand music streaming service Lala at the end of this month. Many believe this is the next obvious step to Apple’s launch of a web-based iTunes type service. Apple bought the service in December.
Lala’s offering is/was pretty neat. Listeners can have an unlimited number of one time listens to any song in their library of 8 million songs. For ten cents they can listen to that song on demand as many times as they want, or they can buy it for 79 cents.
This kind of cloud based offering must certainly be something Apple is planning, given their huge success with iPhone and recent launch of iPad. So even though some sources say there will be licensing snags between Apple and the record companies, I’m thinking there’s definitely an iTunes.com launch coming. I’m not thinking too hard about when or where, but I am wondering why they shuttered Lala now.
There’s a pretty intriguing game playing out with a whole bunch of streaming services that are shifting their models. Last.fm stops on demand streaming and Rhapsody opens their on demand streaming up to include actual downloaded playlists onto iPhones. Spotify, the long awaited on demand service, has still not even launched here in the US. If nothing else, this move by Apple seems to offer an advantage to Rhapsody, and a definite disadvantage to Lala’s listeners…