Lewis Black Hits Pandora with $10 Million Copyright Lawsuit

Comedian Lewis Black has slapped subscription-based streaming service Pandora with a $10.2 million copyright infringement lawsuit. Black becomes the latest humorist to take legal action against an audio streamer for unauthorized use of their work. Earlier this year, comedians Nick Di Paolo and Andrew Dice Clay — and the estates of Robin Williams and George Carlin — sued Pandora, which is owned by SiriusXM. Black is represented by the rights organization Spoken Giants, which is not a party to the suit, while the others are on the Word Collections roster. Continue reading Lewis Black Hits Pandora with $10 Million Copyright Lawsuit

Canada Revives Bill to Up Local Content on Digital Platforms

Canada is taking steps to ensure that digital platforms such as YouTube, Netflix and Spotify adequately represent Canadian artists for users who log in from a Canadian IP address. In an effort to protect Canada’s cultural identity, the nation’s television and radio broadcasters are required to fill a local content quota as a licensing condition, and the new bill — which passed the lower house of Parliament last week — would create a similar mandate for digital platforms, said Canada’s minister of heritage Pablo Rodriguez. The bill, C-11, awaits approval by the Senate to become law. Continue reading Canada Revives Bill to Up Local Content on Digital Platforms

States Fight Misinformation on Social Media Before Midterms

As various states undergo primary elections and the nation gears up for midterm elections in the fall, the social network misinformation machines are becoming more active, too. Connecticut is actively addressing the problem with a marketing budget of nearly $2 million to counter unfounded rumors. The state is also creating a new position to monitor the disinformation mill. Salaried at $150,000 per year, the job involves combing fringe sites like Gettr, Rumble and 4chan as well as mainstream social media sites to weed-out falsehoods before they go viral, alerting platforms to remove or flag such posts. Continue reading States Fight Misinformation on Social Media Before Midterms

Nielsen Is Going Private in $16B Sale to Private Equity Group

Audience measurement firm Nielsen has been sold for $16 billion to a consortium led by private equity firms Evergreen Coast Capital and Brookfield Business Partners. The price represents $28 per share — a 60 percent premium over Nielsen’s share price earlier this month when news of the discussions surfaced and 10 percent more than the consortium offered last week. Nielsen reported global revenue of $3.5 billion in 2021. Media viewership data collected by Nielsen helps guide the spending of billions in advertising dollars each year. Nielsen will go private if the deal closes. Continue reading Nielsen Is Going Private in $16B Sale to Private Equity Group

Spotify Puts Podz Acquisition to Test with Discovery Feature

Spotify is testing a feature that lets podcast discovery platform Podz help people find new podcasts they may like. Now, Spotify is taking the algo-driven audio newsfeed for which Podz became known and turning it into a more personalized discovery experience. The big idea here is to extrapolate. Podz provided machine-curated audio samples. As part of its Spotify integration it is targeting the next level: letting users tap to read an audio transcript, review show graphics or hear more of the podcast. Spotify acquired Podz last summer for approximately $49.4 million. Continue reading Spotify Puts Podz Acquisition to Test with Discovery Feature

National Advertisers Embrace Streaming Audio and Podcasts

The audience for streaming audio continues to grow, and advertisers are taking notice. A 2021 survey found that 68 percent of U.S. listeners listened to digital audio in the previous month, compared to 47 percent in 2014. While streaming audio advertising still lags behind traditional radio, changes in consumer privacy policies at Apple and the effect that’s had on social media platforms has prompted brands and small businesses to explore their options. Roughly $5.7 billion will be spent on U.S. digital audio ads in 2022, up 14 percent over 2021, according to Interpublic Group’s Magna media unit. Continue reading National Advertisers Embrace Streaming Audio and Podcasts

CES: Spotify Call-to-Action Cards Make Audio Ads Clickable

Spotify is bringing interactivity to the audio ad experience for podcasts with “Call-to-Action Cards.” As part of Spotify’s streaming ad-insertion platform, the CTA cards will appear in the app as soon as a podcast ad begins playing, resurfacing when a listener is exploring the app, reminding them to check out the product or service and eliminating the need to remember a promo code or URL. Advertisers can customize the CTA cards with images, text and clickable buttons. The feature makes podcast ads visually interactive for the first time, transforming the experience into something listeners can see, “and, most importantly, click.” Continue reading CES: Spotify Call-to-Action Cards Make Audio Ads Clickable

Strong Q3 Sees Spotify Gain Slim Lead Over Apple Podcasts

Spotify has announced that for the first time its podcast service has overtaken Apple Podcasts in U.S. listenership. Speaking on the company’s Q3 2021 earnings call, the company cited Edison Research and internal tracking to proclaim Spotify the No. 1 podcast platform in the nation, surpassing Apple in monthly listeners. While the company didn’t break-out numbers for its podcast listeners, it said monthly active users for Spotify overall were up 19 percent year-over-year, totaling 381 million for the quarter. Spotify Premium subscriptions also increased 19 percent, to 172 million, up from 165 million in 2020. Continue reading Strong Q3 Sees Spotify Gain Slim Lead Over Apple Podcasts

TSMC to Raise Its Chip Prices as Global Shortage Continues

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) — the world’s largest contract chipmaker — plans to raise prices on its most advanced chips by about 10 percent and less advanced chips by about 20 percent, to take effect late this year or in early 2022. The price hike is taking place during a global shortage of semiconductors that already impacts auto companies including General Motors and Toyota Motor, an array of consumer electronics, and major tech companies such as Apple, which uses TSMC chips in its smartphones. GM closed three North American factories and Toyota will slow production by 40 percent in September. Continue reading TSMC to Raise Its Chip Prices as Global Shortage Continues

Spotify Increases Its Ad Revenue While User Growth Is ‘Soft’

Spotify Technology saw its advertising revenue more than double during the quarter ending June 30, but its audio streaming service added fewer total users than expected. Spotify chief executive Daniel Ek noted that, “while I’m disappointed that our [user] growth was softer in the last half of Q1 and the first half of Q2, the good news is that we’ve seen that trend line reverse, and all the leading indicators I’m seeing show that we are back on track.” At the end of the quarter, Spotify had 365 million monthly active users, a 22 percent bump year-over-year. Continue reading Spotify Increases Its Ad Revenue While User Growth Is ‘Soft’

Spotify Intros Its Own Voice Assistant for Popular Music App

Audio streaming service Spotify unveiled a voice assistant with the wake phrase “Hey Spotify” on Android and iOS. Unlike other voice assistants, the app must be open to work; it will play a song, pull up a playlist and tune into a radio station as well as skip and pause. App researcher Jane Manchun Wong reported that the mobile version of the feature has been in the works for at least a year. It is enabled via the “settings” button in the Spotify app where the user turns on “voice interactions.” Spotify is now facing privacy questions. Continue reading Spotify Intros Its Own Voice Assistant for Popular Music App

Pentagon, FCC Draw Up Rival Plans for Military 5G Spectrum

The Pentagon and the Federal Communications Commission are preparing separate plans for Defense Department-controlled 5G wireless spectrum, both dubbed the Beat China for 5G Act of 2020. The Pentagon would create a military cellular network and lease extra capacity to the private sector. The FCC wants to auction some of the spectrum in late 2021. The Pentagon’s more detailed plan may go public before the November 3 presidential election. The spectrum is currently used for military radar and aviation. Continue reading Pentagon, FCC Draw Up Rival Plans for Military 5G Spectrum

Google Brings Personalization Features to Your News Update

Google is adding new features to Your News Update, its news aggregation service, to personalize 90-minute news feeds from each user’s preferred sources. The goal is to create a seamless listening experience akin to a customized song playlist. Each news playlist, similar to those on public radio, will begin with short clips about the major headlines moving into longer stories. The end product, available only in the U.S., will compile radio, podcast clips and text-to-speech translations tailored to the individual user. Continue reading Google Brings Personalization Features to Your News Update

Apple Music Debuts New Stations, Renames Flagship Beats 1

Apple unveiled two live radio stations on Apple Music, available in 165 countries, and renamed its flagship station, Beats 1, as Apple Music 1. Apple Music Hits will showcase top songs from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, and Apple Music Country will highlight country music. Apple Music’s Beats 1, which launched in 2015, has become a popular destination for music listening and offers in-depth artist interviews as well as global exclusives and premieres. The station also promotes human curation and artist camaraderie. Continue reading Apple Music Debuts New Stations, Renames Flagship Beats 1

SiriusXM Ups Its Podcast Profile with the Purchase of Stitcher

SiriusXM is buying podcast platform Stitcher from the E.W. Scripps Company for $325 million. Scripps purchased Stitcher from Deezer in 2016 for $4.5 million, combining it with Midroll Media, which it bought for $55 million the previous year. Stitcher enables advertisers, creators and publishers to both produce and distribute content. With Stitcher, SiriusXM can now offer original podcasts for listeners. Scripps said Stitcher’s 2019 revenue was $72.5 million, for a compound annual growth rate of 52 percent from 2016 through 2019. Continue reading SiriusXM Ups Its Podcast Profile with the Purchase of Stitcher