FCC Chair Discusses Net Neutrality Rules with Tech Industry

After meeting with execs at Cisco, Facebook, Intel and Oracle to discuss future plans for net neutrality, FCC chair Ajit Pai believes tech companies are interested in finding “common ground.” Most Internet companies have expressed support for “net neutrality, saying the protections guard them from paying tolls to get their content in front of consumers,” reports The New York Times. “Pai said that he agreed with the broad principles of net neutrality but that the rules, created by the commission in 2015, went too far in restricting broadband providers.” Continue reading FCC Chair Discusses Net Neutrality Rules with Tech Industry

FCC Chair Takes Steps to Reverse Restrictions on Telecoms

FCC chair Ajit Pai is moving forward with plans to reverse regulation introduced during the Obama administration under former FCC chair Tom Wheeler. Two items expected to pass today — involving Internet connection fees and limits on the number of stations a TV broadcaster can own — “will empower big telecom and media firms that have lobbied aggressively for deregulation,” reports The New York Times, “but consumer groups say it may also eventually put consumers at risk of higher prices and fewer options for services and media.” The new Trump appointee “has abolished a plan to open the cable box market” and “suspended several participants from a program for low-income broadband subsidies.” Pai is expected to introduce a proposal to counter net neutrality soon. Continue reading FCC Chair Takes Steps to Reverse Restrictions on Telecoms

Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

Fifteen months after Pandora acquired Rdio’s key assets, the company is launching its anticipated $10-a-month on-demand music service. Pandora Premium, which begins rolling out in the U.S. today, offers access to tens of millions of songs and the ability to save tracks offline. While it still touts the playlisting engine powered by data and people that made its curation approach famous, the service is aiming to distinguish itself from other offerings such as Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud by focusing on personalization features, a new design and ease-of-use. Continue reading Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

FCC TV Airwaves Auction Reaps Disappointing $18.2 Billion

The Federal Communications Commission’s auction of TV airwaves, nearing its end, has brought in about $18.2 billion in bids. That figure is far less than the last sale of government licenses, due, say analysts, to a lack of interest in low-frequency television airwaves. The spectrum auction enabled TV stations to sell their airwaves, which would be repurposed for use by the mobile industry. But potential buyers are apparently more interested in airwaves that “can carry more data over short distances.” Continue reading FCC TV Airwaves Auction Reaps Disappointing $18.2 Billion

SoundCloud Debuts New ‘Stations’ Feature for its Mobile Apps

Music streaming service SoundCloud intends to make music discovery easier through its new “Stations” feature for iOS and Android apps. Stations can create an endless playlist of music based on a search term or track. The new feature populates these stations with songs related to a user’s “Likes” on the streaming music platform. Users have long sought such a feature to make discovery easier. SoundCloud’s latest update makes it more comparable to paid streaming services like Pandora, Apple Music and Spotify. Continue reading SoundCloud Debuts New ‘Stations’ Feature for its Mobile Apps

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

Milestone: iHeartRadio Exceeds 60 Million Registered Users

Last week, iHeartRadio announced that it had reached over 60 million registered users. The streaming service is distinct from its competitors such as Pandora and Spotify in that it also allows users to access stations for free without the need to register. Only those who opt for listening to playlists and accessing more personalized features need to register with the service. This unique model makes it difficult to compare to Spotify’s 60 million active monthly users or Pandora’s registered 250 million users. Continue reading Milestone: iHeartRadio Exceeds 60 Million Registered Users

Proposed FCC Rule Change Potential Big Step for Internet TV

The FCC is considering a change to federal regulations that could potentially put Internet TV providers on the same level as traditional cable TV companies. If the change were implemented, Internet TV providers would reportedly have the same ability as today’s cable and satellite companies to negotiate for carrying broadcast TV stations. The change could therefore help emerging multichannel video programming distributors (MVPD) to license the content necessary to become serious contenders. Continue reading Proposed FCC Rule Change Potential Big Step for Internet TV

Pandora Introduces AMP, Brings Listener Data to its Musicians

Pandora’s Artist Marketing Platform will now offer listener data to the artists whose music is featured on the Internet radio service. This data will include number of plays and thumbs up for each song, how many fans have created stations for the artist, along with the listeners’ geographic and demographic breakdowns. Co-founder Tim Westergren uses his experience as a musician to detail how the service will eliminate guesswork and allow musicians to more effectively target their audience. Continue reading Pandora Introduces AMP, Brings Listener Data to its Musicians

Google Play Adds Songza Playlists for its Music Subscribers

Subscribers to Google Play Music All Access will now be able to pick from activity-based Internet radio stations powered by Songza. Songza curates Internet radio offerings based on time of day and activities. Google acquired Songza back in July, but this is the first time it has integrated Songza’s offerings. The tech giant is playing catch-up in the Internet radio business to iHeartRadio, Slacker, Beats Music and Spotify, which already offer activity-based music playlists. Continue reading Google Play Adds Songza Playlists for its Music Subscribers