Streaming Boosts Music Revenues, But Not Equally for Artists

The Recording Industry Association of America reports that streaming is booming, more than offsetting declines in CD sales and digital downloads. In 2015, overall revenues rose almost 1 percent to $7 billion, the fifth consecutive year that the market grew — albeit slightly — in wholesale value. But artists and their representatives are saying that the gains aren’t being fairly shared, since many users still listen for free. In 2014, for example, on-demand streams grew 63 percent while revenue increased only 34 percent. Continue reading Streaming Boosts Music Revenues, But Not Equally for Artists

Amazon Expands Its Audible Programming to Include Podcasts

Amazon is recruiting comedians, radio producers, engineers, marketers and lawyers for almost 100 positions in the company’s growing Audible division. Audible currently offers more than 250,000 audiobooks and plays, but the new hires suggest that Amazon is investing in more original programming. Prominent comedians like Maria Bamford and Jonathan Katz, as well as producers from NPR, WNYC and the radio show “Fresh Air,” have already joined the Audible team. Continue reading Amazon Expands Its Audible Programming to Include Podcasts

The BBC Experiments with TV Shows That Adapt to Personality

The BBC introduced “Visual Perceptive Media,” an experimental project out of its R&D unit in Salford, UK, which allows video stories to adapt in response to individuals’ personalities and tastes. The British broadcaster earlier created the audio-based Perceptive Media project; a radio drama makes adaptations based on the listener’s location, time of day and other factors such as proximity to the device and background noise. The video-based project begins with a mobile app that conducts a personalization process. Continue reading The BBC Experiments with TV Shows That Adapt to Personality

Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Pandora just acquired Rdio for its technology and talent, and Spotify is unrolling Fan Insights to offer its musicians a way to research its fan base and plan smarter tours. In both cases, these popular streaming music services are expanding beyond their core expertise — and their unstable revenue — by uniting radio, on demand and even live shows. As bigger players such as Apple, Google and Amazon create music services, Pandora and Spotify must offer more services to survive. Continue reading Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Pandora Media to Acquire Rdio Assets Following Bankruptcy

Pandora has largely been focused on Internet radio since its inception, but has also been increasingly competing with on-demand music services such as Spotify and Apple Music. The company announced yesterday that it plans to spend $75 million for the assets of struggling online service Rdio, which is filing for bankruptcy. The move could help Pandora significantly expand the way it delivers music. While the company presently touts 78 million customers, most of them listen for free, and the current Pandora model involves a feed of songs based on a user’s tastes, but with limited control. Rdio’s tech could offer Pandora users more control over their selections. Continue reading Pandora Media to Acquire Rdio Assets Following Bankruptcy

Beats Music to Close Now That Apple Music is Live on Android

Apple acquired Beats Electronics for $3 billion in May 2014. While it was expected that the Beats Music streaming service would be folded into iTunes Radio to take on Spotify and similar offerings, Apple Music was launched more than a year later. Now, Apple has announced that it plans to officially shutter Beats Music on November 30. A statement on the Beats Music site encourages subscribers to check out Apple’s new service: “Your subscription will be cancelled, but you can move your picks and preferences over to Apple Music right now.” Continue reading Beats Music to Close Now That Apple Music is Live on Android

Pandora and Sony/ATV No Longer Opponents in Streaming Wars

Pandora Media and Sony/ATV announced a multiyear licensing deal yesterday that brings the companies together to provide better rates for artists while allowing Pandora to “benefit from greater rate certainty” that could also help “add new flexibility to the company’s product offering over time.” The direct licensing deal arrives as the music industry prepares for potential changes regarding federal regulation of songwriting rights. Sony/ATV is the world’s biggest music publisher with songwriting rights to thousands of artists, including the Beatles and Taylor Swift. Continue reading Pandora and Sony/ATV No Longer Opponents in Streaming Wars

Publishing Giant Condé Nast Buys Niche Music Pub Pitchfork

Pitchfork, founded in 1995, made a big name as a small independent music website and quarterly magazine that was an outsized tastemaker in the arena it served. The site’s lengthy reviews took independent music and its practitioners seriously, making it the benchmark for fans, college radio stations and concert venues. Now, Pitchfork Media, the company behind the website and magazine, has been acquired by publishing behemoth Condé Nast for an undisclosed sum, effective immediately. Continue reading Publishing Giant Condé Nast Buys Niche Music Pub Pitchfork

Vevo, Pandora, Spotify: Defining Musical Tastes of Millennials

Millennials discover and listen to music differently than past generations, spending an average of 25 hours a week on streaming music services including Vevo, Pandora and Spotify. That’s one result reported by Vevo in its “Music Fan Report,” slated for release next week. Another way that millennials differ from past generations is that they generally do not consider themselves fans of any particular genre but rather are interested in finding new music, regardless of its musical category. Continue reading Vevo, Pandora, Spotify: Defining Musical Tastes of Millennials

BuzzFeed and iHeartRadio Join Snapchat’s Discover Platform

To meet the needs of its younger audience, Snapchat has added BuzzFeed and iHeartRadio as new content partners for its Discover portal. Snapchat launched the platform earlier this year in hopes that teens and millennials would follow their news and entertainment without leaving the app. The addition of BuzzFeed and iHeartRadio should bolster its efforts and get users to check out other Discover channels. Snapchat hopes to grow Discover, and recently moved the feature to its central Stories screen for easier access. Continue reading BuzzFeed and iHeartRadio Join Snapchat’s Discover Platform

Podcasting Embraces Native Ads, Blends Story and Sponsors

As podcasts continue to grow in popularity, more journalists and major media brands are turning to the format. Behind much of the format’s growth is the embrace of native advertising — ads that reflect the tone of the podcast as hosts discuss products during their show or even report on brands as ad spots. Blurring the line between advertising and news has led to a clash between those coming from public radio and those coming from commercial radio. Regardless, evidence suggests that native advertisements are effective. Continue reading Podcasting Embraces Native Ads, Blends Story and Sponsors

Security Experts Remotely Control Jeep’s Steering and Braking

Security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek were able to hack into a Jeep on the highway and remotely control its radio, windshield wipers, navigation system and, finally, the brakes and steering. Miller and Valasek have been working for the last two years to hack various cars, with the aim of controlling them remotely. Their ability to hack the Jeep highlights one of the potential dangers inherent in the Internet of Things, as an increasing number of interconnected devices hit the market. Continue reading Security Experts Remotely Control Jeep’s Steering and Braking

Google Amps Up Competition with Free Version of Play Music

A week before Apple was set to unveil its streaming music service, Google came out with a free, albeit limited, version of Play Music, which began as a $9.99-a-month subscription service in 2013. Google is offering the service to lure more listeners to its subscription version, which loses potential customers when they are asked to input credit card information. Whether this strategy pays off is unclear, and some industry analysts wonder if Google is cannibalizing its own services or amping up its music creds in a competitive streaming music environment. Continue reading Google Amps Up Competition with Free Version of Play Music

New Wave of Interactive Ads Designed to Engage Mobile Users

According to Google, only 54 percent of online video ads are viewable (excluding those on YouTube). More companies are trying to get people engaged with their online ads instead of scrolling past them. Viewers may be prompted to talk back, swipe, or shoot targets in interactive ads. This new type of advertising is aimed at mobile users as people increasingly use their phones to access the Internet. Google and other companies hope interactive ads may help generate more mobile advertising revenue. Continue reading New Wave of Interactive Ads Designed to Engage Mobile Users

Amazon Launches Streaming Music Update with Prime Stations

Amazon has introduced “Prime Stations” for users of its Prime Music iOS app. The mobile update is intended to help the music service better compete with the likes of Pandora and iTunes Radio. Prime Stations are ad-free stations that offer unlimited song skips. The updated app features personalized recommendations that are based on a user’s play history and will therefore become more accurate over time. Prime Stations can also learn from user feedback (thumbs up or thumbs down) to create better playlists. Continue reading Amazon Launches Streaming Music Update with Prime Stations

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