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Posted on: 03/24/2008

PEERING INTO RADIO’S FUTURE In an article yesterday, Marc Fisher in the Washington Post wrote, “The music industry is finally starting to come around to the difficult truth that we now live in a world in which consumers expect information and entertainment to be free… But traditional radio’s offer of free music surrounded by audio advertising is also being rejected by a generation that resents undesirable interruptions.” So what is the radio of the future? Fisher wonders if CBS might use its $280 million acquisition, Last.fm (which bases its offerings on the type of music you already listen to), “to change some of its 140-plus AM and FM radio stations, putting listeners in charge of what music gets played.” But he then correctly points out that while services like Last.fm and Pandora are designed to help you discover music you might like, “on the most popular online music sites, the lists of here.

CRTC MAY REGULATE CANADIAN CONTENT ONLINE The CRTC (the counterpart to the FCC in the U.S.) is examining the possibility of regulating Canadian content on the Internet. In 1999, the CRTC adopted a “hands-off” approach to the Internet, in contrast to “Con-Can” regulations that mandate of minimum amount of Canadian content on radio and television. The Toronto Star reports pressure from Canadian content creators who are concerned about traditional programming may be forcing the CRTC to rethink the matter. According to the paper, “Should its exemption be reversed, the CRTC’s mandate would likely be limited to potentially overseeing online content offered by TV networks or radio stations.” More here.

RAMSEY QUESTIONS BANNER AD VALUE IN A MINIMIZED PLAYER Mark Ramsey has a question for webcasters: “Have you ever seen stats on how many people cover that player with another window or minimize the player to effectively remove it from the desktop?” The point, of course, is the true value of a visual ad that is served to the player. How valuable can that ad impression be if the user never sees it? The conversation has begun (check the comments at the bottom) at Ramsey’s Hear 2.0 blog here.

YAHOO! SAYSDON’T FORGET ABOUT US!” OVER FM It may seem somewhat roundabout, but Yahoo!‘s latest plan to steal some of Google’s search thunder takes to the FM airwaves to win converts. “You won’t find that on your Google page!” exclaims one of the ads that is playing in markets across the country. CNet reports that “Yahoo not only wants to show off new features added to its search engine in October, like search assist, short cuts, and multimedia results, but also to remind people that there is an alternative to Google.” According to the report, the ads are also running in a place that some might consider more direct: online.

CC MAKES DEAL FOR CUSTOMIZED MOBILE CONTENT STORES ON STATION SITES Mobile content provider Thumbplay says it will roll out customized mobile content stores across more than 650 Clear Channel Radio local music station sites, plus several more news and sports stations, throughout the coming year. Each station site will host a customized store featuring format-appropriate mobile content. Thumbplay also developed a customizable widget allowing DJs at each station to choose their favorite ringtones and update those selections themselves online. Thumbplay’s mobile content stores have already launched on more than 100 stations’ Web sites across the country. More here.

MAJOR LABELS SIGNING ON WITH NOKIA’S MOBILE MOVES Nokia appears to be giving Apple some competition in the “sexiness” market. First, there’s the recent video ad for the company’s mobile music options [covered previously in RAIN here], and now comes news that a second major label will license content to Nokia’s “Comes With Music” initiative. EMI will sign on to the unlimited mobile music service which could mimic Apple’s possible “all you can eat” model. EMI joins Universal as the second major label to agree to the deal. Handsets featuring the service are expected to launch in the second half of this year, according to the Digital Media Wire.

BADU SAYS IF FANS WANT DIGITAL, THEY’LL GET DIGITAL Digital media give huge numbers of artists worldwide reach every day, and more and more major musicians are helping themselves and their fans by following the trend. The latest believer: Grammy-winner Erykah Badu, who is leaning heavily on new media to get out her latest album, “Nu AmErykah: 4th World War”. “When I push a button, I can send [my album] out to not my city, not my radio station, but to the world. And it’s inspiring to be able to do that,” Badu said in a recent Chicago Tribune article. “I might as well give a digital world what they need and what they want,” she added, commenting that the release of her album on USB stick is just another example of CDs’ relevance continuing to fade.

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