Tag Archives: streaming

Streaming’s Top Songs Chart

English: The logo for the Billboard magazine.

In a nod to the increasing share of music that is getting listened to via streaming platforms, Billboard has added a Streaming Songs Chart to its weekly listings. Last spring Billboard started charting top songs played by On Demand services, this list will cover those and add the songs played most by streaming services. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis holds the top spot on Streaming Songs with 1.45 million total streams in the U.S. Services included in the reporting are “such services as Spotify, Muve, Slacker, Rhapsody, Rdio, MySpace, Xbox Music and Guvera.”

The data comes from Nielsen Soundscan and Nielsen BDS data – Nielsen SoundScan measures U.S. point-of-sale of recorded music product. Nielsen BDS tracks U.S. radio airplay and music streams. Both systems power many of the Billboard charts. Nielsen recently reported that music purchases are at an all time high, up 3.1% over last year, driven by digital sales. For 2012, sales of albums and track equivalents are down slightly at -1.8% vs. 2011. Digital Albums are up 14% and Digital Tracks are up 5%. CD sales declined 13%.

Pandora meanwhile has posted a recap of sorts of last year on its blog, noting that last year listeners to Pandora created 1.6 billion stations and listened to more than a million different songs by 100,000 different artists. I’m thinking that data is probably at least as deep in terms of sample size as the stuff Nielsen is collecting…

Teens Prefer YouTube For Streaming Music

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...

When my daughter, who is 17, wants to hear a song, she doesn’t turn to radio. Nor does she go to Spotify or Pandora. YouTube is her on-demand streaming service. A new study out from Nielsen says she is not alone. More teens listen to music on YouTube (64%) than radio (56%), iTunes (53%) and CD (50%).

Radio is still the primary machine for music discovery across all ages, but it looks like this study does not try to restrict the definition of “radio” to AM/FM.

The new Nielsen report offers insights on all aspects of music consumption including listening and purchasing behaviors; music discovery; live events; the use of social networking and mobile music apps; as well as how the economy is affecting music sales.

“The accessibility of music has seen tremendous expansion and diversification,” said David Bakula, SVP Client Development, Nielsen.   “While younger listeners opt for technologically advanced methods , traditional methods of discovery like radio and word-of-mouth continue to be strong drivers.  With so many ways to purchase, consume and discover great new music, it’s no wonder that the consumer continues to access and enjoy music in greater numbers.”

One of the takeaways of this study is that radio is a music discovery machine — curated programs and personalized streams work well for helping people find new music. But once they find it, they are inclined — especially teens – to turn to YouTube where they can WATCH it. When it comes to on-demand streaming, YouTube is (still) the elephant in the room…

Katz360 Touts Growing Network

The Katz Online Network is growing, according to a newsletter sent out a few weeks ago to network affiliates and others. Sales and new advertisers are growing too, according to Scott Taylor, SVP at Katz360: “We are very happy with what we’re seeing for [the third] quarter.   Retail stores are seeing dramatic growth, led by Savers, Walgreen’s, and Wal-mart.  Lowe‘s leads our Home Improvement category, while RIngCentral headlines the Telecom category. New advertisers to Q3 already on the books include Allstate Insurance, ESPN, LearCapital.com, and Buffalo Wild Wings.”

In addition, according to Triton’s Webcast Metrics data, the Katz 360 Online Audio Network generated more than 380,000 Average Active Sessions per week (M-F 6a-8p) in May, up 66% from a year ago, with session starts more than doubled from a year ago.

In addition to emphasizing their expanding online audio network, Taylor points out that their display ad network, made up of the websites of their affiliate stations, delivers 50 million listeners. (Technically speaking, those listeners are not actually listening, the number represents the number of people visiting the websites of the radio stations.) It’s a big number, and it’s smart that Katz has moved in the direction of creating this customized network with comScore – no doubt it will enable them to better monetize that online inventory by gaining them notice and credibility with digital ad agencies.

 

 

Pandora Is Second Only To Google In Monetizing Mobile

Pandora now has more than 150 million registered users, and more than two thirds of that number has listened on a smartphone or tablet. More than 70 percent of all listening to Pandora occurs on a mobile device. 

To that end, mobile revenues grew from $25 million in 2011 to $100 million in 2012 for the most listened to online radio platform in the US. That puts them second only to Google in terms of mobile advertising revenues, according to a recent press release. This is a good response from Pandora to Wall Street analysts who have been skeptical of the company’s ability to monetize its mobile ad inventory.

Pandora also noted that they are now included in the dashboard of 48 models of cars, and have partnerships with 25 brands of autos and auto aftermarket devices.

Pandora’s mobile strategy has been a key component of their growth – they were early into the iTunes app store and experienced enormous popularity from the beginning that continues today as a mobile platform. With more than 70% of their listening occurring on mobile, their ability to monetize that listening is critical. $100 million sounds like they are on the right path..

Pandora Panderings in the News

It’s been a strong news week for Pandora, which is not unusual – the service has a great strategy for maintaining visibility in the media. That’s good for their brand and all of Internet radio by-the-way.

They recently released some new data from a study done by The Media Audit surveying 54,000 people in Los Angeles about their radio listening affinities. As reported in the LA Times, “Pandora beat out local stations such as KIIS-FM, KNX-AM4, KROQ-FM5 and KOST-FM in the survey of 54,000 adults who were asked in the biennial phone poll, in October, what stations they had listened to in the previous week.” In fact, “The research group estimated that 1.9-million people in Los Angeles listened to Pandora between September and October of 2011. The No. 2 station, KIIS-FM, garnered 1.4-million listeners in the same time frame, according to the survey.”

This caused the Huffington Post to headline an article with the proclamation that Pandora is the Number One Radio Station in LA. I’m sure the folks at Pandora were very happy about that.

Meanwhile, Inside Radio, a publication owned by Clear Channel which owns Pandora competitor iHeartRadio, was busy covering a story about more research on Pandora’s listeners. Mark Kassoff and Company, a radio programming research company, surveyed 1,177 Pandora listeners, asking them just what they like so much about the service. Their  conclusion? Pandora listeners are control freaks. And that’s the headline that Inside Radio chose for their coverage of the info.

Now, despite the headline, the Kassoff data is actually pretty good – revealing to those that read past the opening sentence that people like the personalizable options that Pandora gives to listeners. Kassoff goes on to examine in his survey the ways that Pandora and FM are different, and encourage broadcasters to focus on those differences. Which is a great conclusion for his study..

SoundExchange Collections Up 40% Last Year, Mostly Increased Payments From Pandora

The following is a guest post by Angus MacDonald, General Counsel, Live365:

A few days ago, SoundExchange publicly released its Annual Report (Draft) for 2011.  According to the report, SoundExchange’s 2011 collections from ALL statutory services amounted to $371.9 million.  See SX’s Annual Report, p.7 (“In 2011, SoundExchange collected statutory royalties from all statutory classes of services in the amount of $371,922,621.”).  That’s an increase of 40% ($106M) in collections compared with the previous year – i.e., $265.9M in 2010 vs. $371.9M in 2011.

Impressive increase.  However, as discussed below, Pandora accounts for most (over 70%) of that growth.  In its most recent 10-K filing (released about 3 weeks ago) for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, 2012, Pandora paid 49.7% of its revenues to SoundExchange.  See Pandora’s 10-K , p.20 (“For our fiscal year ended January 31, 2012 we incurred SoundExchange related content acquisition costs representing 49.7% of our total revenue for that period.”).

Using the 49.7% figure (along with Pandora’s recently-reported revenue of $274.3M for its last fiscal year) means that Pandora paid $136,346,980 to SoundExchange in the 12 months that ended Jan. 31, 2012.  That $136.3M figure represents 36.66% of SoundExchange’s total revenues ($371.9M) collected in CY2011.  [NOTE: For the purposes of this exercise, I’m comparing Pandora’s FISCAL year (Feb. 1, 2011 to Jan. 31, 2012) to SoundExchange’s 2011 CALENDAR year, even though it’s not entirely apples-to-apples.]

That 36.66% figure certainly would be much higher – well over 50%, I’d safely bet – if you look only at SX’s Internet-radio revenues, which are NOT separately broken out in SX’s Annual Report.  [As many of you know, SoundExchange collects statutory royalties from many different types of services – including noninteractive Internet radio (Pandora, etc.), satellite (Sirius XM), cable subscription services (Music Choice), and business establishment services (DMX).]

Pandora’s royalty payments to SoundExchange more than doubled year-over-year – $61.99M in FY2011 vs. $136.35 in FY2012.  That $74.35M increase in royalties paid by Pandora accounts for MOST – i.e., over 70% – of SoundExchange’s increased revenues ($106M increase) for 2011.

Another interesting factoid:  Pandora paid about as much in royalties for its FY 2012 (i.e., $136.3M) as it made in TOTAL REVENUES for its previous fiscal year, FY 2011 ($137.7M).

My own editorial:   With Pandora’s ever-growing listening hours and royalty payments, SoundExchange and the labels need a healthy Pandora as much as Pandora needs a reasonable Pureplay-like rate for the next royalty term (2016-2020).  This is especially true if Sirius XM continues to sign up more direct license deals, thereby bypassing SoundExchange (though Sirius XM’s recent antitrust complaint suggests that may be a tough row to hoe).

There are several other semi-interesting tidbits from SoundExchange’s Annual Report, including its mini-hiring binge in 2011 (55 employees in 2010 vs. 72 employees in 2011) – which was probably necessary to handle all of the additional royalties from Pandora!

CBS RADIO Signs Up With Tunein

CBS RADIO has signed a non-exclusive deal with tunein, giving tunein listeners access to news, sports and talk content on more than 40 CBS RADIO stations. This news flies in the face of several exclusive deals recently leveraged by Clear Channel on its iHeartRadio platform, where some major broadcasters were signing away their rights to work with multiple online portals to engage listeners, and instead agreeing that the online online portal they would work with would be iHeartRadio.

“We have always believed in the value of great local content, and this agreement validates the demand we know exists for our original programming while at the same time creates a new revenue source for the company,” said Ezra Kucharz, President, CBS Local Digital Media. “By forging relationships with premiere distribution services such as tunein, CBS RADIO will significantly grow its audiences by exposing our content to new listeners.”

The CBS RADIO deal make a lot of sense, although it’s disappointing that only talk radio content is included. This may be due to tunein’s global appeal – CBS Radio restricts streaming of its music stations to the US. tunein has a suite of very popular mobile apps as well as deals with many devices and automakers, high rankings on iTunes for its popular app. According to Alexa, it’s one of the most popular websites in the US and world, ranking just above the top 1000. That’s a lot of potential listeners…

Innovating the Radio Industry Online

Last week in an interview with CNET, Michael Robertson talked about how his TiVo-for-radio service DAR.fm is good for the radio industry. DAR.fm lets subscribers record shows from a listing of 5000 stations and 20,000 programs. Those shows are then streamed or downloaded to a personalized list of devices.

Robertson’s goal is to build a better distribution platform to keep radio relevant. No stranger to the idea of ruffling a few feathers, Robertson is well known to the industry as the guy that built MP3.com and got sued by all the major record labels for copyright infringement. He later sold the service to Vivendi Universal for $385 million. 

Now Robertson’s pursuing his vision with DAR.fm, focusing on the intersection of technology and the radio industry. “It’s going to be fascinating to see what happens in the radio business over the next three to five years,” Robertson said last week in an interview with CNET. “This is a car accident waiting to happen. You have traditional broadcast radio, Sirius XM (satellite radio), and the Internet start-ups such as Pandora. They are all approaching the audio business with different assets, different royalty structures, and they’re going to realize that they’re all in the same business. They think of themselves as separate right now but everything is going IP.”

On April 15th RAIN Summit West will take place in Las Vegas and host an entire day of interesting conversations about topics like this. Michael Robertson will participate on a panel called The Streaming Music Landscape. Other interesting panels include Innovating the News/Talk Format Online, Personalizable Radio, Charting Digital Audio Ad Dollars, and others. You can get a look at the complete agenda here. See you there!

Consumers That Stream Also Listen To FM In Cars

Nearly 40% of smartphone owners have used their device to listen to a streaming music service while in their car, according to new research by NPD Group on automotive connectivity. Devices and ways to connect them have become a serious focus for the auto industry. 79% of car owners are using a digital device in their cars.

It appears at this point that streaming in the car is used to supplement listening to traditional radio – according to NPD’s Ben Arnold, seventy three percent of drivers report still using their FM radio “always” or “most of the time” during car trips while more than half (57 percent) of vehicle owners say a CD player is vital in their decision to buy a car stereo or entertainment system.

The desire to consume connected content is a challenge for the auto industry as well – as they focus on best ways to integrate mobile connectivity into the car with minimal driver distraction. Apple’s voice controlled Siri  and Microsoft’s motion controlled product found in Kinect are technologies that automakers are looking to integrate into the equation.

Meanwhile, in place of smooth integration, consumers are finding ways to connect their mobile devices using auxillary inputs (18%), USB ports (11%), and Bluetooth technology (56%). This fact – that consumers are so interested in developing workaround ways to use their connected devices in their cars, is a huge indicator of the desirability for a more connected dashboard.

“The key is for auto makers and traditional audio manufacturers to facilitate consumer use of connected devices in the vehicle, allowing content from the smartphone, tablet, or digital media player to easily stream or be controlled through the deck mounted in the dashboard,” Arnold said.  “We’re only going to see greater consumer attachment to social media, streaming audio and video, and other services as content options grow.”

Now Adele Is Snubbing Spotify

Last week the world belonged to Adele, who won award after award at the Grammys. But you can’t hear 21, her award winning album, on Spotify. Adele’s pulled her music from the service.

 

Joining Coldplay, Paul McCartney and a few others, Adele – most likely with the encouragement of her record label, is boycotting Spotify, pulling her new album 21 from the service. This move is becoming more popular by artists looking to maximize sales of their new or newly award winning albums. There’s a growing opinion that giving listeners access to their new music on a service like Spotify, where listeners can select the song they want to hear whenever and as often as they would like, will hurt album sales, either digital or physical.

 

Apparently, Adele’s management was willing to license 21 to Spotify for premium, subscription paying listeners only, but this option was declined by Spotify. It’s not hard to understand why they declined it, as it could easily have a snowball effect on other artists.

 

There is a concerted effort by a growing list of popular artists to control the access that listeners have to their new music. Most of the recent moves have concentrated on limiting the kind of free, on-demand access that Spotify offers, although recently Paul McCartney reportedly blanked all streaming of his newly released album.

 

Note: Although there are multiple reports that Adele’s 21 is not available on Spotify, I do have access this morning to a “sampler” version of 21 in my Spotify library. I’m not sure if this is a new development, or a function of the fact that I have had it in my library for a while..

 

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