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RAIN 3/11: Webcaster Earbits to let bands pay for airplay

Posted on: 03/11/2011

NOT THE FIRST NET RADIO SERVICE TO EXPLORE PAY-TO-PLAY OPTIONS

Relatively new online start-up Earbits is pretty similar to any other Internet radio site: 40 different channels with thumbs up/down ratings, song-skipping abilities and lots of social media integration. But the company says it plans to soon allow artists to pay for song plays.

CEO Joey Flores is confident that it’s a model that both bands and users will benefit from,” reports TechCrunch (here). So far the site is free for users and artists. Earbits “isn’t dealing with the big labels” for now, instead making deals with smaller labels and artists with “its own licensing terms.”

This isn’t the first Internet radio service to pursue a pay-for-play system. Jango Airplay was announced in May 2009, charging bands $30 for 1,000 song plays (RAIN coverage here). Shortly before that, TargetSpot’s then-CEO Doug Perlson mused on the possibilities of payola on Internet radio (here) and industry attorney David Oxenford discussed the legality of such an endeavor (here).

RAIN SUMMIT NORTH TODAY IN TORONTO

If you’re in Toronto today for Canadian Music Week, please join us at 3:45pm in the Royal York’s ballroom for RAIN Summit North! It’s going to be a packed afternoon of insightful discussion about Internet radio — particularly in Canada — capped off by a RAIN Reader Cocktail Party. More details can be found here. We hope to see you this afternoon!

MICROSOFT’S PLANNED MUSIC PLATFORM COULD COMPETE WITH PANDORA, WRITES COLUMNIST

The rumor of “Ventura,” a new music/video platform from Microsoft, hit the web this week. ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley broke the story and wrote that Ventura could include “recommendations, ratings and comments…services and experiences revolving around music/video discovery and consumption.”

“That nugget is enough for some observers to conclude that Microsoft is going after Pandora, the Web radio service, because Pandora’s service also fits that description,” writes Peter Kafka at All Things Digital (here).

There are still “a lot more questions than answers” about Ventura, as Mary Jo Foley writes (here). Stay tuned.

FORGET AIRPLAY,” APP STREAMS AUDIO CONTENT FROM DESKTOP TO iPHONE

A new app (well, new to us anyway) called WiFi2HiFi lets you wirelessly stream any audio — including Internet radio — from your PC or Mac to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. That makes it a handy solution for playing music on your home stereo system, for example, that you can’t get in an app. Find more coverage here.



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