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Tom Taylor asks, "Has Internet radio 'stagnated'?"

Posted on: 12/11/2007

From Taylor on Radio-Info: Has Internet radio “stagnated” lately?

That’s as measured by unique visitors to Internet radio websites for September, you understand, not actual listening. John Blackledge’s report for JPMorgan got initial coverage (including on Radio-Info.com) focusing on the slight 1.5% “dip” in September, for both terrestrial and Internet-only radio. But is there something bigger going on?

Blackledge says “total traffic now stands at the lower end of the 60-62 million range within which it has stagnated” –- his word -– “over the last year and a half.” That’s interesting. Does it suggest there’s some kind of natural limit to the size of the Internet radio world? Or does it partly reflect the upheaval from the music copyright questions?

Another Big Piece of the puzzle is the “share shift” over the last year, as the big terrestrial operators like Clear Channel, CBS, etc. have muscled in for a better than 40% share of the pie. Since mid-2006, Blackledge says “the pure-plays fell from 65% to 59%.” Though there have been winners and losers inside the “pure-play” crowd, too: Pandora and Live 365 “experience notable growth”, possibly at the expense of Yahoo Music, Windowsmedia.com Music and AOL Music.

For September, Radio Disney, Clear Channel, CBS (and its Last.fm unit) were off a tad, while Radio One “generated record traffic of almost 900,000 unique visitors.” Maybe soon, the analysts will quit bugging Radio One’s Alfred Liggins about his lack of an Internet strategy. His stations do seem to be drawing people online.

Read more from journalist Tom Taylor at www.radio-info.com.

RAIN ANALYSIS: This “stagnation” is, of course, a response on the part of large portals to the CRB royalty decision. As has been covered on a regular basis in RAIN all year long, including in last week’s Bloomberg News story, Yahoo, Microsoft, and AOL have all been explicitly pulling back on their promotion of their Internet radio features ever since the CRB decision came out.

Meanwhile,pure-playwebcasters like Pandora and Live365, not having other lines of business to promote other than Internet radio, are staying the course, and thus growing, and broadcasters, understanding the strategic importance of streaming to their future health, have not pulled back either.


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  1. As a volunteer broadcaster on worldwidebluegrass.com. We have struggled and worryed about what Sound Exchange and the CRB was going to do to us. We have hung in there, and have picked up many more listeners over the last several months.

    Billy Dunbar · Dec 13, 05:27 AM · #

  2. As a small broadcaster I am struggling to maintain a presense on the internet. I have had plans of growth into a higher tier of broadcasting at a later date. But, this whole CRB situation is definitely making it harder to garner new listeners. The most often heard response has been “I thought internet radio had been shut down by those judges.” Seriously.
    I continue to broadcast and hopefully saner minds will come to bear on this issue allowing me an opportunity to grow into the business I set out to create.

    Bob Bennett · Dec 15, 08:29 AM · #

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