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RAIN FOR FEB. 25 2008: LAST.FM, KURT AT SANFRAN MUSICTECH

Posted on: 02/25/2008

FREE, ON-DEMAND STREAMS, PLUS MAJOR PROMOTION, POWER BIG GROWTH FOR LAST.FM: CBS-owned Last.fm says it is now the “fastest growing online music network in the U.S.” Since the social-networking music site launched its free on-demand music streams, Last.fm says “unique listeners” has grown 92%. The service claims to have more than 21 million active users per month worldwide. The on-air promotional exposure during CBS’s Grammy Awards and Garth Brooks concert telecasts certainly helped. Last month, CBS announced Last.fm was to become “the first website to offer free, global, on-demand access to the largest licensed catalog of music.” (See our coverage from that day here; see the CBS Last.fm press release here.)

HANSON TO SPEAK, MODERATE SANFRAN MUSICTECH PANEL TODAY: The SanFran MusicTech Summit is underway at the Hotel Kabuki. RAIN publisher and AccuRadio founder/CEO Kurt Hanson is scheduled to speak and moderate a 1pm (Pacific time) panel called “Streaming: The Future of Radio?” Panelists include SomaFM founder Rusty Hodge, Pandora CTO Tom Conrad, and KFOG-FM/San Francisco PD Dave Benson. If you’re in the Bay Area today, we strongly encourage you to consider attending! Get more information here.

LEAVE THE MUSIC PLAYER, TAKE THE ONLINE STREAMS?: There’s high praise for the music programming and recommendation systems available on the recently-released Slacker portable Wi-Fi player. According to a review in the Washington Post, the “strongest aspect” of the Slacker experience is the free online streaming music service, not the player device, and “budget-minded fans” should go wild for the high quality programming and music discovery capabilities. The drawbacks? Spotty Wi-Fi plagued this particular reviewer, which could put a damper on Slacker’s main draw: its ability to refresh music lists on the go. The author’s last word on the device is available here.

THE END OF THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AS WE KNOW IT.“ A new study from Forrester Research Inc. predicts that half of all music sold in the U.S. will be digital sales by the year 2011, with digital music surpassing the CD in 2012. The Massachusetts-based research firm says that digital music sales will increased with a compound annual growth of 23 percent over the next five years, bringing in $4.8 billion by 2012. However, CD sales figures will continue to decline to $3.8 billion by 2012. “This is the end of the music industry as we know it,” stated James McQuivey, VP and principal analyst at Forrester
Research. FMQB coverage here.

RAB CHIEF JEFF HALEY’S KEYNOTE AVAILABLE ONLINE. Among other things, he notes, “The financial success from online streaming is reflected in the double-digit increases in Radio’s off-air revenue activity. The average monthly off-air revenue
growth rate has been approximately 10 percent. At this rate, off-air revenue could grow to be over $1.5 billion this year and approach $2 billion by the end of 2009…” You’ll find the full script here.

DISTRIBUTING MUSIC OVER COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK NOT A NEW IDEA: The April, 1912 issue of Telephony magazine reports: “Wilmington, Delaware, is enjoying a novel service through the telephone exchange: Phonograph music is supplied over the wires to those subscribers who sign up for the service…” Read this fascinating historical article here.

ADVERTISERS GET THE KEYS TO NEW DESKTOP WI-FI PLAYER: With its funky design and clunky name, the Chumby desktop player seems like something of a paradox. A review in the New York Times finds that the unique player is full of contradictions, giving users a touch-screen and robust Wi-Fi media options on the cheap. The catch? Chumby makers are trying to cash in with unorthodox ad opportunities. The review explains its ad model like this: “It could charge a higher fee for the device itself and have no ongoing revenue, as with computers. It could charge less for the device and then charge a subscription fee, as TiVo does. Or it could sell the devices at cost and make money on advertising.” Now the test: will anyone buy in? Read more of the NYT review here.



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Conference schedules
Sep. 12 SF Music Tech Summit: San Francisco, CA
Sep. 13 RAIN Summit Chicago @ NAB/RAB RadioShow: Chicago, IL
Sep. 14-16 NAB/RAB RadioShow: Chicago, IL
Sep. 24 IBS Radio/Webcast Conf.: Chicago, IL
Oct. 6-7 Digital Music Forum West: Los Angeles, CA
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Dec. 3 IBS Radio/Webcast Conf.: Los Angeles, CA