Media Beat
Media Beat

Media Beat: April 01, 2021

Locker Room: Spotify’s next step into real time audio broadcasts

Back in February, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek mentioned that the platform was looking to expand its audio offerings by creating something whereby users would be able to listen to content being delivered in real time. I quote: “There are elements of live listening that will eventually exist on Spotify too. You should imagine that functionality being available.”

On Tuesday (March 31), Spotify announced that it was buying a startup called Betty Labs, creator of a live audio app called Locker Room. If you’re on Clubhouse, you’ll get the idea… – Alan Cross, A Journal of Musical Things

No sleep til Sudbury with Brent Jensen

Launched in 2017, Jensen’s affectionate and very professional-sounding story-based No Sleep til Sudbury podcasts about music pop music recently published its 200th edition. You can view the archive here. Along the way he’s written several books about how music affects our lives, and created a speaking career giving music-related talks in Canada and the US on topics such as music's impact on consumer behaviour, and the role of music in mental wellness, before the pandemic hit. He’s a resourceful sort of guy. From his roost, he’s invited guests to talk about music that moves them in whatever way, for whatever reason. Among those guests to date: Ron MacLean, Erica Ehm, Alan Cross, Murray McLauchlan, Christopher Ward, Tara Slone, members of The Go-Go's, Def Leppard, and The Black Crowes.

Jensen isn’t sitting still, however: “Even though the podcast is doing well, I feel like I'm capable of more given the opportunity” and he’s reaching out to the community for more guests, and anyone who can help push his brand to the next level. Contact is brent@brentjensenmusic.com

And here’s episode 200 which takes a dive into past podcasts

AccuRadio says its moving to the AM band

“Due to the high cost of music royalties for online radio, plus an opportunity we see for a significant revenue increase, we’ll be winding down our current online service and moving, effective next week, to (AM) broadcast radio,” company founder and CEO Kurt Hanson announced in a press release 3/31/21.

Hanson noted that the US Congress and Copyright Office have set “radically different royalty structures” for broadcast, satellite, and Internet radio., with broadcast radio paying about 6% of its revenues for music royalties, satellite radio paying about 15% of its revenues, and “Internet radio required to pay a per-performance rate that for some webcasters can represent up to 70% of their revenues.

“Although we feel that there is inherent unfairness in this rate disparity, we believe if more online radio brands follow our lead, even companies like Pandora can find a way to achieve profitability,” Hanson noted.

Is it an April Fool’s Day joke? We’ll have to wait and see, but the announcement says the netcaster’s current line-up of 1100 channels will no longer be available in bulk. Cheekily, the company statement suggests that “AccuRadio will debut on AM radio on Monday, April 5th with its ‘Ukulele Unleashed’ channel. “If you love ukulele music, don't miss it, because that channel won't be coming up again in the channel rotation until Saturday, June 12th, 2025.”

All  AccuRadio’s music channels will be available on the broadcast version of AccuRadio, although only one on any given day.

“Liberated from the conventions of online radio, which include a typical spot load of only about 4 minutes of commercials per hour, in its new competitive environment, AccuRadio on the AM band will be able to field a competitive product even while playing up to 22 minutes of commercials per hour,” company Music Programming EVP Paul Maloney noted.

AccuRadio was able to line up a strong network of signals for its launch as a result of recent events. “Thanks to Rush Limbaugh's passing, lots of AM stations have become available at affordable prices,” noted Hanson. “While some of us will miss Rush’s insights, perhaps AccuRadio’s diverse music offerings will similarly add to the public good.”

Hanson and company are addressing a problem with disparate royalty rate structures, but ukulele music and the timing of the announcement sniff of a prank in the wind rather than a serious protest driven by economic need. We’ll let you know when the calendar flips to April 2.

Leave a comment