Don’t Forget About Internet Radio On f8 Day
— Spotify got most of the attention at Facebook’s f8 conference on Thursday, but Internet radio services could end up being the big winners. While Pandora was noticeably absent from today’s announcements, some of its competitors are diving headfirst into Facebook integration.
Slacker was one of the online music services that announced new integration with Facebook Thursday. The company now claims 400,000 paying subscribers, six million monthly users and 30 million registered users, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. The company did not break out the percentage of subscribers for each tier – there’s a $3.99 per month for the Internet radio and $9.99 for the tier that combines Internet radio and on-demand access.
Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio also announced Facebook integration Thursday. That will put iHeartRadio in users’ news feeds in real time. The new iHeartRadio service, revamped to add personalized (read: Pandora-like) Internet radio to its collection of Clear Channel station streams, already has 50 million listening hours and 34 million app downloads. It’s a big priority for Clear Channel, a company that can boast 237 million monthly listeners.
Do the math and it’s easy to see that Internet radio services could be the big beneficiary of Facebook partnerships. Subscription services get the attention but radio has more listeners. More listeners mean more sharing on Facebook. That bodes well for greater adoption of Internet radio services big and small.
Services like Slacker and iHeartRadio should be able to pick up new users easily. Internet radio services offer compelling free services that require nothing more than exposure to advertisements. That shouldn’t be an issue – people have come to accept ad-supported radio. With low barriers to adoption and Facebook’s broad user base, Slacker and iHeartRadio should be well represented in users’ news feeds and tickers.
And Slacker and iHeartRadio may benefit from getting a jump on Pandora in the Facebook redesign. It would be premature to say that Pandora is lagging in social, however. It may not be a partner with Facebook this week, but its newly redesigned site does incorporate Facebook’s social graph to give it some decent social features.
( Slacker Press release, Clear Channel Press Release)
Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the (Economic) Wind Blows…
— Economic news deserves coverage well outside of the financial news media. Much of the music and broader entertainment industries depend on economic variables such as unemployment and change in personal income. So, it makes sense to pay close attention to the winds of the economy.
Unfortunately, those winds don’t look all that good right now. Famed investor George Soros said Thursday the US is already in the midst of a double-dip recession and warned two or three small countries could default on their loans and leave the Eurozone.
More concrete arguments can be found in a post by Roger Altman at The Financial Times explains that record lows on interest rates of American, German and UK government bonds show the world is on the cusp of another recession. He is the founder and chairman of Evercore Partners and former deputy Treasury secretary under President Clinton. Only the anticipation of weak demand for capital and low inflation rates could drive interest rates so low, writes Altman.
Another decline into recession would be “disastrous,” he writes. “It would shock consumers, businesses and financial markets. Fearful, they would retrench further, causing the economic decline to accelerate. Weak labour markets would worsen as would the already swollen government deficits and debt. Overall, we could be in for a repeat of the experience of 1937, when America fell back into recession after three years of recovery from the Great Depression.”
US markets’ dismal day on Thursday were a reflection of recession fears. The Dow closed down 3.51% and the Nasdaq closed down 3.25%.
( Financial Times)
Social Media’s Impact on Radio Progamming
— The power of social media seems practically boundless these days. Here’s an example of social media’s impact on radio play. Tony Monte, founder and President of New Music Director, explains how radio programmers have more factors than just the music when deciding whether or not to put a song in rotation:
“If you get to the point as an artist of even being on the air, having a great song is just a part of it. I don’t know if it’s as meaningful as it has been in the past, because they want to see other things. A recent example is, I wound up sitting with some programmers with a new artist and playing the song. While the song was playing, they were just as interested in looking the artist up via their Facebook page, their Twitter page and their other online outlets as they were in the song itself. People want to know now, even with a brand new artist, what’s going on.”
( Musician Coaching)