Blackberry has introduced a new radio app for its mobile devices that is innovative in that it’s not dedicated to a certain music service. Instead, the new app gives users easy listening access to a variety of music services and platforms. Clear Channel’s iheartradio, Slacker, and Corus stations are included in the Beta.
In the absence of an organization to lead the way with integrating apps and devices with stations, that job has been left to leading brands like Clear Channel and Pandora. And while it’s certainly a great thing that they are doing – both with cars as well as mobile devices – ultimately what ends up in cars and on smartphones needs to give consumers access to all rather than a limited list of stations. I don’t mean to imply that it’s entirely selfless on the part of Clear Channel or Pandora, certainly they benefit from early branding and driving more listeners to their streams. But what consumers will ultimately want is the ability to choose their own preferences from a portal that offers all the choices. Something more like RadioTime’s TuneIn app.
Blackberry’s new app takes a step in the right direction by offering several brands. I suspect we’ll see them open it up even more..
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!
In a savvy and innovative move, RadioTime has optimized their Internet radio portal called TuneIn for Google TV. This news comes as the most recent in a list of placements and partnerships that position RadioTime as a key portal to Internet radio listening. That list includes deals with device and automotive manufacturers as well as apps for smartphone mobile listening.
TuneIn Radio features RadioTime’s new Song Search technology, which allows users to quickly and easily search the directory of over 50,000 AM/FM and Internet-only radio stations for specific songs, artists, programs and stations. The TuneIn Radio home page automatically displays a user’s local AM/FM stations, and provides links to search the entire directory by selections such as “Music,” “Talk,” and “Sports,” as well as an enormous library of podcasts.
Users who create a free account on RadioTime.com can link their presets to their Google TV accounts, and save and access presets on Google TV, RadioTime.com and the TuneIn Radio mobile apps.
“Before the Internet, before television, there was radio, and the medium has remained a primary source of news, sports and music for 100 years,” said Bill Moore, CEO, RadioTime. “Seeing TuneIn Radio in Google TV Spotlight next to websites from such well-known content providers as CNN and Vimeo is extremely gratifying and validates all the hard work our team has put in to bringing the TuneIn Radio experience to Google TV.”
RadioTime continues to come up with excellent manuvers to build traffic through their portal that make them more and more essential to both listeners and content providers. It seems to be working – particularly in the US where their traffic rank on Alexa has them at 1569. May they thrive…
As demonstration of the growing popularity of Internet radio on mobile and other connected devices, RadioTime’s online portal to Internet radio stations saw a jump of 40% in the number of times listeners tuned in during the month of March. The number jumped to 45 million – up from around 27 million sessions the month before. Most of that listening is done on mobile and other devices that use RadioTime’s tuner.
RadioTime is a company that develops tuners that enable mobile and other devices to easily tune in to Internet radio stations. The increase reflects more users visiting the RadioTime.com Web site and accessing the RadioTime guide from more than one hundred different connected home audio devices, mobile smart phone, and other applications.
According to RadioTime’s Dan Halyburton, the growth spurt is thanks to some new mobile apps like WunderRadio, which are seeing lots of downloads by iPhone and Blackberry users, and TuneIn Radio for iPhone users. Adding to the growth is the increasing popularity of tabletop wifi connected devices by companies like Sonos and Logitech, both powered by RadioTime tuners.
“RadioTime is turning computers, home entertainment devices and smart phones into worldwide radio tuners, helping radio better compete with online music services for listeners and advertising revenue.” says RadioTime Founder and CEO Bill Moore. Listeners download mobile apps or purchase new equipment to listen and they all pass through the RadioTime portal.
RadioTime’s portal is playing a more and more important role in Internet radio’s landscape. I truly believe that Internet radio needs a strong portal to unify the dial and make listening easy for listeners.
RadioTime is meeting the challenge by offering a portal where listeners can sort stations by region, format and call letters and enabling listening on mobile and other devices. If you’re a streaming station, I have two recommendations – make sure you’re on their radar, and find out how you can be a good business partner to them – your success is tied to theirs..
RadioTime has announced another product that will integrate it’s software into devices – this time with BMW and MINI. The MINI Connected option features a web radio function based on the RadioTime directory that leverages the iPhone’s Internet connection to tune to thousands of AM/FM and Internet-only radio stations worldwide.
Drivers of MINIs will be able to plug their iPhones into a standard USB port and then use the car’s existing controls to select from Internet radio stations in the RadioTime directory.
RadioTime CEO Bill Moore says, “Accessing Internet radio used to require patching a smartphone into a car’s existing sound system, and fiddling with a smartphone’s controls. Now, instead of looking at your smartphone screen, you can use the dash display and MINI Joystick to tune to web radio. Radio has always been an integral part of our cars, and we’re opening up the world of music, news, talk, sports and entertainment that only web radio can offer.”
This could well be the year that listening in cars begins to contribute to overall audience growth for Internet radio. Earlier this year Pandora announced deals with Pioneer for a Pandora enabled navigation system that will detect iPhones and iTouches and put the user’s Pandora settings on the nav screen, and a deal with Ford for its Sync in-car communication system.
Finding and listening to all that Internet radio has to offer on your iPhone just got easier with the new iPhone app Spark Radio. Spark Radio is a premier radio app for Apple’s iPhone and iPod touch that features cool animations and more than 10,000 global station choices.
Spark Radio was built by Handcast Media and uses the RadioTime portal to provide access to more than 10,000 streaming stations worldwide. Listeners can search and stream what they want, whether it be music, talk radio, sports events, public radio or special programming from around the world. An elegant interface and program guide make it easy for users to quickly find their favorite stations by searching for stations or programs by keyword, location or the station URL and can browse programming by genre or location.
“The Spark Radio app is a beautiful and fun radio application that opens the world’s selection of music programming that only radio can provide,” said Bill Moore, CEO of RadioTime, Inc. “RadioTime makes it easy for Spark Radio users to find their favorite radio stations and discover new ones from wherever they are.”
Especially innovative are features such as a GPS component that allows listeners to find local stations in any given city based on current GPS coordinates; and the interactive social media features. Users can create a profile and see what other users are listening to using a Globe Navigator. They can share and discover stations, rate them and see who else is listening to the station they are streaming.
The app also enables multi-tasking on the iPhone while listening, a feature that is somewhat unique among iPhone streaming apps.
Handcast Media Labs is located in Minneapolis and is dedicated, according to their website, to creating the best interactive graphics applications for iPhone.