SoundCloud Hits 10 Millions Registered Users
On-demand services and some webcasters might get more headlines, but SoundCloud is currently one of the world's hottest digital music companies. The popular audio hosting-and-sharing platform announced Monday it has surpassed 10 million users.
SoundCloud's growth has been remarkable. The service had just 1.2 million users when Billboard.biz put SoundCloud in a " Five Hot Digital Music Companies to Watch " list back in July 2010. By June 2011 it was up to 5 million users.
The SoundCloud platform is used by an increasing number of developers, too, everybody from Pro Tools to RootMusic to Boxee. Back in July 2010 there were 70 applications built on top of SoundCloud's open platform. Now there are over 10,000.
Where does SoundCloud go beyond music? How large can it grow? The service is being used by more than musicians - which is good because there are more non-musicians in the world than musicians. SoundCloud points out journalists (Robert Scoble, Mike Butcher) and publishers (Penguin Books UK) using the platform. Wherever there is recorded sound - not just music, but sound - there will be a use for SoundCloud. Once it expands its vision beyond music, SoundCloud is looking at a massive market.
That growth, and the potential for more growth, has resulted in some high-profile investors. In early July, SoundCloud announced that Kleiner Perkins led a $50 million investment round that reportedly values the company at $200 million . Ashton Kutcher's A-Grade Fund invested  in June 2011. Investments by Union Square Ventures and Index Ventures were announced in January 2011.
Pandora Releases Figures Using Standard Radio Metrics - But Should It?
Pandora released some local market figures on Monday that show strong year-over-year growth. It has reached an average quarter hour (AQH) rating of 1.0 or more among adults 18 to 34 in several top markets. AQH for the 18 to 49 age groups ranged from 0.7 to 0.9 in those top markets.
So where does that put Pandora in, say, the New York market? RadioInfo.com lists 24 New York stations with AQH greater than 1.0 in the "holiday 2011" time frame. Pandora had a 1.0 AQH in New York in December. In San Francisco, where Edison says Pandora had a 1.2 AQH in the 18 to 34 age group in "holiday 2011," RadioInfo.com lists  24 stations with an AQH greater than 1.2 for December 2011.
Pandora's use of standard radio metrics brings up an important question: If it walks like a duck and adopts the standard metrics used by ducks, is it a duck? Pandora certainly walks like a radio station. It plays music and delivers advertisements. Executives rarely miss an opportunity to cast the company as a radio service and distance it from on-demand services such as Spotify. And, most importantly, Pandora is using the metrics and terminology of broadcast radio. For the company to tap into broadcast radio advertising budgets, it needs to be thought of as a radio company and not just another advertising-based content portal. Thus the AQH and cume metrics put together by Edison Research.
A Pandora spokesperson explained it to Billboard.biz this way: "AQH is the industry standard for audience measurement of radio; we use this because it helps radio buyers understand the scale and scope of Pandora and they can leverage these metrics when making radio planning and buying decisions."
Only Pandora listeners who can hear advertisements were included in Edison's calculations. Subscribers to the advertising-free Pandora One premium service were not included. If you want to read up on Edison's methodology, go to this page  at Edison Research's website. ( Pandora blog )
Big Anti-SOPA Response, But Was It A Fair One?
-- Eight million people, or 1.5 percent of the U.S. population, contacted their representatives in Washington D.C. to complain about SOPA after reading about it at Wikipedia, according to a post at Forbes.com. The public's reaction to the proposed legislation is generally interpreted as a positive for democracy in America. And it is indeed nice to see Americans are not as apathetic as they are sometimes portrayed.
But not everybody was encouraged by the dialogue that spurred last week's push-button democracy. New York Times' tech writer David Pogue, for example, argued the "scare language"  used by SOPA's opposition was "just as flawed" as the language of the bill. "In the new world of Internet versus government, the system worked," he concluded. "The people spoke, government listened, and that's good. But let's do it responsibly, people. Both sides have an obligation to do the right thing." ( Forbes.com )(CopyHype )