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..
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…
I’ve said before that side channels are a great idea for online stations. Whether the station is a streamed broadcast or an online station, adding side channels is an excellent opportunity for stations to expand and diversify their offerings and give listeners more reasons to listen and listen longer.
One popular use of side channel programming is the creation of holiday channels. AccuRadio takes the concept of Christmas channel programming to the extreme – offering 43 channels of Christmas music — from R&B to Smooth Jazz to Celtic and Pop Christmas choices. Each year AccuRadio sees a nice spike in their audience as a result of their holiday offerings.
Not surprisingly, new data from AndoMedia shows that holiday side channel programming contributes to long term audience growth as well. Here’s a couple of charts showing pre and post holiday audience average active sessions on AccuRadio.
Stations should take a retailers approach to holidays and create specialty programming on side channels, according to Patrick Reynolds, Sr. VP at AndoMedia. This approach boosts their short term listening, and adds to their long term audience growth as well.
We’ll be exploring more ways that stations can expand their audience and brand with digital audio offerings at the upcoming RAIN Summit West on April 12 in Las Vegas. In fact, there’s a panel discussion specifically dedicated to the topic. To register click here. Audio4cast readers can save 30% by entering the code Audio4cast during registration.
Navigating the rules of using music in a digital media platform is complicated. Whether you’re a streaming music service, offering podcasts, downloads, videos with music from your site, or simply creating ads for advertisers, chances are you’re creating a public performance when you’re doing that, which in the digital world means you have to have a license and pay a fee. In many cases, statutory or blanket licenses already exist. Which means all you have to do is figure out which ones apply to you…
To make that much easier, my friend David Oxenford of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine has created an excellent resource. Guide to the Basics of Music Licensing is essential reading for anyone in the digital audio space. (It’s free!)
Oxenford is the most knowledgeable guy I know in areas related to copyright issues and digital audio. He has represented webcasters in lots of royalty negotiations including the settlement last summer between pureplay webcasters and SoundExchange. He’s also a busy FCC attorney for lots of broadcasters. He’ll be speaking at RAIN Summit West on April 12th as well.
This week, RAIN: The Radio and Internet Newsletter announced that Kinsey Wilson, Senior VP and General Manager of NPR Digital Media will be a keynote speaker at RAIN Summit West on April 12th in Las Vegas. The RAIN Summit event in Las Vegas is an official event of the NAB Show and features a full day of panels, presentations and speakers on the topic of Internet Radio and digital audio platforms. In it’s 8th year, this event is the best event of the year for anyone involved in the industry to learn, connect and network with others in the business of Internet radio.
Wilson oversees an impressive digital media platform at NPR that includes web, podcasting and mobile operations. Previously, he was the executive editor of USA Today and oversaw the award winning redesign of that paper’s website.
NPR’s digital platform is impressive and innovative, I’d go so far as to say that they’re doing the best job of any broadcaster in utilizing their digital platform to distribute their content, engage their audience and extend their brand. This is a great opportunity to see what they’re doing and listen to a lead digital thinker in our industry.
You can get more information and register for the RAIN Summit here.
At RAIN Summit East in Philadelphia this week I got an overview of two nice applications that broadcasters can use to make their streaming offerings more creative and engaging.
Jelli is both an Internet radio station and a tool that broadcasters can use to create their own unique programming. It works like this: listeners can go on the site and choose the songs or artists they want to hear. The playlist is controlled by these requests. The fun starts when lots of people want to hear the same songs, which drives the song up the playlist and puts it on the air faster, or when listeners don’t want to hear a song, which does the opposite. If enough people don’t like a song that is playing, they can actually blow it up mid song, complete with sound effects. The program uses crowd sourcing technology to track listener influence. CBSRadio is using it in San Francisco, airing a three hour Jelli show on Sunday nights on … The guy who presented said it’s available on an exclusive by market basis.
Listener Driven Radio is another application that stations can plug in to get their listeners more involved in the station. It features tools that enable listeners to select songs, deselect songs and generally influence what gets played on the station. Using similar technology, it ties in directly to a radio station’s automation system, feeding real-time commands into the automation system based on the latest crowd-input. Listeners can interact via a website or mobile platform.
Both of these platforms are great ways for stations to engage with listeners and make their products more interactive and relevant.
AndoMedia presented a preview of new metrics at RAIN Summit East last week. In keeping with the format of the Summit, Patrick Reynolds of Ando gave us a few snapshots of data. The online listening audience measured by AndoMedia grew from 204 Million in May of 2009 to 234 Million in August of 2009 – and according to Reynolds, that growth was attributable to increased listening, not to increased number of stations being measured. After the presentation he also told me that number does not include Pandora’s audience, which would surely have an impact.
The average Internet radio listener streams nine sessions per week, and 77% of listeners stream every week. I particularly like that last stat. An enormous percentage of Twitter users signed up, tweeted a few times, and have yet to return to the medium. Twitter retains only about 40% of its users from one month to the next. The fact that streaming audio is keeping ¾ of its audience active on a weekly basis is very promising for continued growth.
Ando is about to make significant changes to its measurement, and Reynolds talked a little about some of the new terms they will be using. Replacing Average Quarter Hour will be the term Average Open Sessions, which will count all sessions of at least a minute in length. This unit is closer to the actual data they are collecting and requires less manipulation. It’s also more in keeping with terms used in other digital media metrics.
According to Reynolds the changes have been blessed by MRC, the board they are working with for accreditation of Webcast Metrics. He promises a new ranker soon, following a four month hiatus while they worked through some of these transitions.