Well, I said I would have the answer to the question, ” Which Internet site was the fastest to reach 20 million registered users?”
In my last blog post, I promised the answer on Monday. I just did not say which Monday : –)
I took last week off from blogging, as it just was an exceptionally crazy week. But, as they say, “I’m back.”
Not wanting to be in the business of promises that I cannot keep, I won’t necessarily promise to post every day, but I will commit to never letting a whole week go by again without a new post.
Now, back to the question about which site has reached 20 million registered users: It’s iHeartRadio. Yep, it got there faster than even Facebook or Pandora.
So, the next question is, what does that mean? Clear Channel, owner of iHeartRadio, also owns more commercial terrestrial radio stations than any other group broadcaster in the country. They aggressively use those stations, and the brand names they have created for them – brands that their listeners recognize immediately and have emotional ties to, to push people over to iHeartRadio. Does that mean they will be bigger than Facebook? Absolutely not. Does it mean they will be bigger than Pandora? In all probability, with 50 million registered users, Pandora will be threatened by it.
Remember, 243 million people spend an hour or more a week with terrestrial radio. Just as once upon a time relationships with radio stations moved from AM to FM, moving that relationship to the Internet is well underway.
Later this year, when Arbitron, the source used most of radio ratings and Nielsen ratings (know mostly for TV ratings) merge and combine internet radio and terrestrial radio ratings, for advertisers, the playing field will be even. Pandora claims to have 7% of all radio listening. At the moment there’s no way to prove that they do or they don’t. Common sense and intuition certainly suggest not, but the numbers, later this year, will prove it one way or the other.
And, speaking of being back, the new Congress is now seated. And, while preoccupied with important issues such as trying to agree on what time it is, much less the federal deficit, and employment, quietly last week the Internet Radio Fairness Act was reintroduced and assigned to committee. With Sprint rolling out FM chips into all of their new smart phones this spring, and other carriers shortly soon to follow, governmental action looks more and more unlikely.
There may also be cracks in the wall in the recording industry. As you may recall, in an earlier post, I noted that Clear Channel and Entercom have made deals directly with labels. Now, comes this post, from FCC and communications attorney David Oxenford;
“Industry attorney and rights/royalties authority David Oxenford is suggesting the system of simple, one-stop music licensing that has enabled services to easily pay for the use of copyright music, and rights-holders to earn on their creations, may be breaking down.
Last week news broke (here) that webcaster Pandora’s bill to perform compositions held by Sony/ATV will go up 25%. Pandora’s agreement with ASCAP and BMI no longer covers Sony/ATV work, and they must settle separately — without the oversight of a rate court. Some fear this is just the first domino falling, soon to be followed by other publishing groups breaking away from the Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) ASCAP and BMI, which aggregate rights and rightsholders (making the licensing of music simpler for both copyright owners and users). See our followup to the Sony/ATV and Pandora news here.
Oxenford joins those warning that if more large publishing groups withdraw from the PROs, the process gets harder for music users — with no rate court oversight (to regulate rates).
Keep in mind some owners of sound recording copyrights have peeled away from the collective — in this case, SoundExchange. In those cases, labels or label groups like Big Machine have made separate deals with broadcasters that decrease webcasting royalties.
But, if this fragmenting of rightsholders continues and accelerates, life could become more complex and expensive for smaller players –both smaller services and smaller rightsholders. As Oxenford points out, smaller services don’t have the manpower to negotiate all the agreements necessary for a comprehensive service; smaller publishers may be left relying on the PROs, and with fewer members, admin costs as a percentage of earnings will rise.
“Note, in some cases, any advantages of the larger players may fade away, as marketplace agreements can often be the best evidence of what the royalties set by a rate court or the CRB should be, in which case these directly licensed rates will end up being extended to all players in the industry,” Oxenford writes.
Given the direct deals for sound recording and publishing rates so far, ‘we might see higher rates for music publishing, but lower rates for sound recordings over time.'”
Read his entire blog post at Broadcast Law Blog here.
And, finally, I could not help but take notice of this entry from a recent Google News Alert. I would love to hear your comments. I find it pretty incredible that not one talkradio portal is listed.
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