RAIN Summit Chicago on tuesday was an incredible event – in my opinion the best one ever. It was very well attended by and the agenda was packed full of interesting people. I could have spent several more hours at the cocktail party connecting with them all.
The highlight of the day – no slight intended to any of our wonderful speakers – was the keynote speech given by Tim Westergren. I found him to be insightful, geniune, inclusive and generous. Tim started his speech by thanking Kurt Hanson for all that he has done for the industry by creating RAIN Summits. He offered a toast to everyone in the room who has been involved in nurturing Internet radio, and he said he is excited about the prospects not just for his company, but also for their “colleague companies” in the space. That’s how a leader talks..
Tim then went on to share a lot of inside info about Pandora with the audience. He started out by telling everyone that he believes the future of radio is Internet radio and in particular personalizable Internet radio. He talked about all the valuable data they get from interacting with their listeners and told a story about how Pandora can use that data. Like the time they packed a club in LA for an Aimee Mann performance by telling all the folks who lived within an hour radius who had clicked “thumbs up” on an Aimee Mann song that she was going to be playing nearby. To further illustrate his point, he mentioned an obscure artist from Waukegan, Illinois named Jason Michael Carroll who had a local gig coming up. Pandora can find all the listeners who clicked thumbs up for that artist and live in the area (5300), and then look for other similar sounding artists and people who liked those artists and live nearby, and tell all of them about Jason’s show, and really impact the way an artist can grow its audience.
Of course, it’s not hard to recognize the value that sort of relationship with listeners can have on advertising as well, and Westergren spent time talking about the progress that Pandora has made in generating revenue. He listed lots of major ad agencies and advertisers who are now buying ads on Pandora and talked about specific ways they have produced strong results.
It was a little disappointing to read some of the trade coverage of Tim’s speech the next morning. I noticed that a couple of publications, despite all the consensus building remarks that Tim made, simply had to portray Westergren’s speech as an attack on radio. It was not that at all. In an informed and informative speech, Westergren shared a lot of details about the success of Pandora. And in my opinion, he spoke to the audience as a fellow radio guy, confident and excited about his product and sharing info as every speaker at The Radio Show will do this week.
If there was a threat, warning or shot across the bow in that speech, it was only a perception by those in the audience who refuse to acknowledge that the definition of radio has changed and now includes Pandora, Slacker and other digital audio platforms. Clearly advertisers have begun to see it that way as well. Closing the windows, locking the doors and arguing that it’s not so will not change that reality…
Here’s the first half of the speech. The second half is also available on YouTube. I’m President of RAIN Summits and am admittedly less than impartial..
Kurt Hanson gave his annual State of the Industry keynote presentation during RAIN Summit West earlier this month in Las Vegas, telling the record attendance that “Things are moving faster than you think!” In his nearly 30 minute presentation, Hanson, Publisher of RAIN: The Radio and Internet Newsletter, cited research and gave excellent examples of the acceleration taking place in the Internet radio industry. Domestic listening to streaming is up, supported by Webcast Metrics monthly data as well as The Infinite Dial Study. Revenue is climbing as well, on track to exceed a billion by 2015 according to SNL Kagan‘s reports.
Internet radio, by offering more variety, personalized listening options and fewer commercials, is driving a major audience shift to online listening. Smartphone use is making streaming more mobile and ubiquitous. Pandora is the industry’s first success story, built on variety, low spot load, ubiquity and personalization.
Vast opportunity awaits but only if the industry can overcome a few obstacles and learn a few lessons. More emphasis should be placed on selling music, and the music industry and stations should work together to make this happen. The music industry is suffering, noted Hanson, because the value proposition is out of whack. Music is too expensive.
Broadcasters need to offer more compelling content to their audiences and focus on the formula for successful streaming online (variety, low spot load, ubiquity and personalization).
Peppered with lots of contemporary cultural references, Hanson’s keynote was both entertaining and astute. Things are moving faster than you think – that’s both a cheer for the industry and a word of caution to those that might not be paying close enough attention…
AndoMedia has released May Webcast Metrics audience data for the stations and networks that it measures.
In their press release, AndoMedia states that most stations saw 1 to 2% declines in listening for the month from April stats. Actually, Clear Channel and CBSRADIO saw much greater declines than that – over 10% of their domestic numbers. This *could* be explained in part by the fact that – as my friend Kurt Hanson figured out – most streams have higher listening on weekdays than weekends or holidays. April was 73% weekdays; May was only 65% weekdays. This, says Hanson, accounts for 5% of the drop. The rest, he continues, could be an indicator that “listening to simulcasts of terrestrial stations online does not seem to be growing in 2010.”
Pandora continues to grow its audience: its domestic-only AAS grew very slightly, but the service gained almost 14.5 million session starts. This may indicate that a lot of folks are visiting but not necessarily staying with Pandora for very long, which wouldn’t be too surprising based on the enormous buzz and sampling that they are getting via iPhone apps and such.
The press release and ranker are here..
RAIN: Radio And Internet Newsletter, the leading trade publication for the Internet radio industry, today announced the creation of the “RAIN Internet Radio Awards” to recognize the achievement of the industry’s most ambitious and innovative services.
Broadcasters and webcasters in the Internet radio industry can enter their services for awards in three categories:
- Best Overall Online Radio Service
- Best Streaming Broadcast Station
- Best Overall Digital Strategy
“For over ten years, the Internet radio space has been evolving and maturing, and we want to begin to recognize those stations and services whose work has driven that innovation,” said RAIN Publisher Kurt Hanson. “An invited panel of Internet radio’s movers and shakers will review the entries and select winners for this year’s round of awards.”
I’m proud to be working with Kurt, Paul and RAIN on the creation of these annual awards for Internet radio. I think it’s time to begin recognizing excellence in our industry as inspiration to streaming radio services everywhere.
Streaming services and stations can enter the competition by visiting the RAIN Internet Radio Awards webpage and clicking on the category they wish to enter. A fee of $19 per entry is required, and services/stations can enter as many categories as they are eligible for.
Awards will be announced during RAIN Summit East in Washington DC in September (details coming soon on that..)
Live365, one of the world’s largest internet broadcasting networks is celebrating their ten year anniversary. That makes the service one of the oldest and most resilient out there. Live365 is a streaming broadcast network that enables anyone to easily start an Internet radio station. Their list of over 6,000 stations includes tiny webcasters programming to a few friends to stations programmed by famous personalities like Pat Metheny, and Carlos Santana, and includes both commercial and public radio stations.
To celebrate, they’re hosting an online video contest. Listeners and broadcasters can create a video, upload it to YouTube, and fill out the entry form by clicking the homepage banner or going directly to live365.com/video. Deadline for new entries is July 1st, 2010, and finalist videos will be featured on the new Live365.com website to be unveiled this summer.
Live365.com has been streaming continuously since 1999 and is one of the few Internet music companies to survive the dot-com collapse. More than one hundred stations have been with Live365 since the beginning and are also celebrating ten years online.
In the early days of Internet radio, they were a visible and vocal advocate for the industry. “Live365 was the first Internet radio station to launch a substantial Internet radio marketing campaign,” says Kurt Hanson, Publisher of RAIN: The Internet and Radio Newsletter. “Their Radio Revolution campaign was a highly visible campaign that helped kick start and raise awareness for Internet radio.”
Live 365’s a true pioneer company of the Internet radio space whose journey over the past ten years has not been easy. Hat’s off to Live365! I’m delighted that they’re ten years old and wish them enormous success…
RAIN: Radio and Internet Newsletter has announced dates for two exciting, informative and prestigious industry events. On March 12th in Toronto during Canadian Music Week, RAIN will host its first Canadian RAIN Summit, featuring interesting speakers and topics related to Internet radio both in Canada and the United States.
On April 12th, RAIN will host its annual flagship event at the Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas. This event takes place during and is an official co-located event of the NAB Show. It’s the premiere educational and networking event for Internet radio. Broadcast radio executives, Internet radio entrepreneurs, and sales and technology visionaries convene at the Renaissance Hotel adjacent to the Las Vegas Convention Center for engaging panels and presentations on technical and legal aspects of the business, programming expertise and business strategies. All RAIN Summit registrants will also receive access to the 2010 NAB Show exhibits.
Join RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson and a slate of industry leaders for a full day of information and networking in Las Vegas, or an afternoon’s worth in Toronto – or both! Then end the day socializing with other broadcasters and webcasters at the famous RAIN Summit cocktail party.
Last week, “Pureplay” webcasters and Sound Exchange came to agreement on royalty rates for the use of sound recordings by Internet Radio stations for the period from 2006-2010. The deal, and analysis of it’s benefits, have been well summarized by David Oxenford (the attorney that represented the webcasters) here, and by Kurt Hanson, Publisher of RAIN: The Radio and Internet Newsletter on his blog.
As Hanson explains, the deal benefits “webcasters who … who have aspirations of earning more than $1.25 million in revenues per year — but are not wholly-owned divisions of multi-billion-dollar companies (e.g., AOL & Yahoo and CBS & other terrestrial broadcast groups). Those webcasters, and some of the known parties in the group, are Pandora, AccuRadio, Digitally Imported and Radioio.
Like the deal negotiated by broadcasters with Sound Exchange earlier this year, this agreement saves these webcasters from further costly CRB (Copyright Royalty Board) negotiations, establishes performance royalty rates that are lower than the rates established by the CRB, and gives smaller webcasters fixed percentage of revenue rates until they hit annual revenue marks somewhere over a million per year.
While there are critics, there’s no doubt that this deal benefits the certain group that participated in the negotiations, giving them relief from CRB-established rates. Congrats to David Oxenford, Kurt Hanson, Joe Kennedy, Ari Shohat, Mike Roe, and others who participated in the negotiations – I know from previous experience that it’s a long and frustrating process. More importantly, it’s a very expensive process – other webcasters that benefit from this option owe thanks and perhaps more to the companies that stepped up to get it done.