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RAIN 9/2: Apple makes iTunes experience more social, more "radio-like"

Posted on: 09/02/2010

PING MIMICS LOCAL RADIO SERVICES WITH CONCERT INFO, MUSIC DISCOVERY

At yesterday’s music-centered press event, Steve Jobs unveiled a new music-friendly social network called Ping. It has the potential to compete on yet another level with radio by replicating more services of a local FM. Ping — which is built in to the latest version of iTunes — displays local concert listings, connects users based on their musical tastes, helps users discover new music and just makes iTunes an overall more social experience. Plus, Ping will also be available in iPhone and iPod Touch devices.

That means users can get local music info from Apple, as well as cool playlists built from their own music using Genius (which also suggests new music the user might like in the iTunes Store). In other words, it mimics many of the services radio provides listeners.

Other updates revealed by Apple yesterday include iOS 4.2, which will arrive in November and will (finally) enable multitasking on iPads. It will also allow users to stream music and videos to iOS devices through Wi-Fi and stream music from their device to special third-party speaker systems.

Apple TV received a major refresh. It now streams all its content (from sources like Netflix) rather than storing it locally — including access to over 4,000 Internet radio stations. The price has been cut to $99.

New iPods were also unveiled, the iPod Nano getting the biggest refresh. It sports a touchscreen now (though no apps) and continues to include an FM radio.

Personally, I tried Ping for a few minutes last night after downloading iTunes 10, but soon felt a degree of “social fatigue.” That is, between Facebook, Last.fm and other services, I see little need for Ping in my life. While I feel many people will follow my example and try Ping to see what all the fuss is about, I doubt many will then take the time to deactivate the service. Even if Ping is a less robust service than other social networks, it’s instantly available to millions of people — as iTunes is a ubiquitous desktop application. — MS

WESTERGREN: PANDORA ACTIVATING 100K MOBILE USERS PER DAY

According to founder Tim Westergren, Pandora is activating 100,000 new users through mobile devices every day. He announced the stat during a press event surrounding Samsung’s new Internet-connected TVs. “This is all happening in a hurry for the devices that are going into the home,” said Westergren. “You could make an app that is part of this massive sea change, across tens of millions of TVs at some point.” Read more from Music Ally here.

TEXTING MAY BE ONE ROUTE TO MOBILE MONETIZATION

Listenership on mobile devices may be growing quickly, but some broadcasters are struggling to monetize their mobile audience. Texting may be one way to do so, according to Citadel’s director of interactive sales Craig Hahn. Inside Radio relates Hahn’s experience of coupling on-air promotion of a local restaurant with a text message to the station’s mobile audience.

“We were able to bring 789 people to this one location by using our on-air and mobile combined,” said Hahn. “It works very powerfully.” You can subscribe to Inside Radio here.

RAIN SUMMIT EAST IS IN 26 DAYS

Just over 3 weeks remain before RAIN Summit East on September 28. The Summit will feature a long list of panels, speakers and presentations, including the exclusive unveiling of findings from Coleman Insights’ “Secrets of Streaming Success” study. Warren Kurtzman presented a preview of the study at RAIN Summit Midwest (RAIN coverage here) and it promises to be a very eye-opening presentation. Don’t miss it!

RAIN Summit East is an official co-located event of the RAB/NAB Radio Show. It takes place Tuesday, September 28 in Washington D.C. The Summit will feature a long list of radio experts, from Bonneville president/CEO Bruce Reese to AccuRadio COO John Gehron. More details, and information on how to register, can be found here. We hope to see you there!



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