Whatever the implications for labels and artists, Facebook users have spoken, giving connected listening a big thumbs-up. Photo (CC-BY) JOHANNES FUCHS resp. GOIABA.

As Facebook Users Hit 1 Billion, Music Listening is Socially-Connected Online [Numbers]

Facebook is bragging about one number, in particular – one billion users – this week. But they’re also releasing some other hard numbers on how people are using their service. Much has been made of how Facebook has transformed social gaming and, via Instagram specifically, photography. But just on Instagram’s heels is none other than Facebook app Spotify. According to analytics site AppData, Spotify is ranked #12 with 22.1 million users, calculated as a monthly active figure, just behind Instagram at #4 with 33 million. Pandora has about a third of that, while other apps lag far behind. It wouldn’t …

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Pandora: Game Handheld with Real Linux, OpenGL ES, Video Out

For all the talk of Android and iOS, the lesser-known Pandora handheld has some juicy visual capabilities in a pocket form factor. You get decent specs (an ARM A8 core plus decent DSP), OpenGL ES 2.0 support, and – critical to making this a mobile visualist box – good, old-fashioned S-Video TV output. Production runs are limited now, but incredibly, using UK labor working in superb conditions the cost is just US$349 (330 EUR including VAT) – no contract with a phone company required. And, of course, you can play games with it, too. With two SD slots and USB …

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Signs of Change, Ingenuity in Music Distribution

Photo (CC) Clonny. Details on Flickr. With the weakened world economy, content in general faces plenty of gloom and doom. Advertising models are severely weakened. But, oddly, in the world of music, there are some positive signs that the shift to decentralized, online distribution might actually be going well — and maybe economic pressures are simply ensuring the parties involved find some way to make the adjustment. And music distribution is becoming wonderfully weird and diverse – maybe far more so than in recording’s so-called golden age, an era in the past dominated by racial division, predatory labels, and a …

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Internet Radio Wins Temporary Delay, Possible Minimum Rate Break

This may stretch your definition of “good news” for webcasters, but the latest on the Internet Radio crisis runs something like this: Webcasters don’t yet have to pay new fees for their broadcast. But they’re still accruing debt — fast. Sort of like our credit card debt. Webcasters may get a small break on the minimum fee, one that could literally have shut down “personalized” radio services. SoundExchange explains the deal thusly: Under the new proposal, to be implemented by remand to the CRJs, SoundExchange has offered to cap the $500 per channel minimum fee at $50,000 per year for …

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The Day the Music Died, Otherwise Known As The Dawning Era of Negotiations

Several readers have observed this quite eloquently, but let’s summarize: laws around music are complicated, messy, and confusing. If they don’t seem that way to you, you’re either a lawyer or you haven’t done your homework. That said, without question, proposed changes to streaming music licensing fees would be devastating to Internet radio, because not just top 40 music requires license fees — even many indie labels are RIAA members and participate in SoundExchange. But here’s the key: they’d be devastating as proposed. And suddenly, at the eleventh hour, SoundExchange seems to be backpedaling. (Their strategy, evidently: push as hard …

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Eerie Quiet, Days Before Monday’s “End of Internet Radio” Deadline

Photo: geodesic. Cricket sound: provided by you. Hear that? Nothing. No, it’s not silence making a political point, as with the Internet Radio Day of Silence staged last week by web radio to protest punishing new royalty rates by showing what they could cause. This is an even more disturbing silence: as the deadline for new US rates for Net radio approaches, online radio’s supporters seem to be desperate and exhausted. Here’s the problem: net radio supporters, concerned that new rates (and the backdated royalty rates that would be owed along with them) could kill Internet radio, haven’t exactly gotten …

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Today is Internet Radio Day of Silence; Join Musicians in Support of Fair Rates

If you switch on your favorite radio stream and hear something unusual — people talking about Internet policy, ambient sounds, or nothing at all — you’re getting a glimpse of a world that could be here by next month. To illustrate the devastating effect new US royalty rates could have on online broadcasters, broadcasters large and small are making today, Tuesday, June 26, a “day of silence.” They’re not just being dramatic: online broadcasters from public radio stations to big services like Rhapsody have said they simply won’t be able to swallow the new rates. Small broadcasters don’t have the …

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May 15 Could be End of Internet Radio; US Legislation to Intervene

The clock is ticking for Internet radio, from public broadcasting streams from stations like KCRW to Internet-only streaming services like Pandora. The Copyright Royalties Board recently approved new rates and restrictions that would increase costs for streamers by three to twelve times their previous rate. This month, the CRB rejected an appeal by broadcasters to reconsider the rates. As a result, by May 15 streamers will have to not only begin paying the 2007 rate but also back-dated royalties going back to the beginning of 2006. Without changes to the rules, many stations will simply shutter on the 15th of …

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If Streaming Rates Stand, “We’ll Have to Shutter”, Says Pandora Founder

A Copyright Royalty Board decision last week chose to adopt a strict new fee structure proposed by a collection body of the RIAA for all web streams, far out of proportion to the fees paid by other media (broadcast, satellite radio) and previous paid by radio streams. Will the higher fees benefit musicians? Not if you ask the streamers; numerous arguments online suggest the cost of the new fees would actually exceed income, from everyone from small streams to enormous ones, and could threaten services like Pandora. For additional background: Webcast royalty rate decision announced at the Radio and Internet …

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