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RAIN 4/2: Pandora, NPR, CBS, AccuRadio unveil iPad apps

Posted on: 04/02/2010


Though a common criticism heard after Apple unveiled the iPad in January was that the tablet device was “just a big iPhone,” the fact of the matter is that the large-screened iPad will be used in different ways than the iPhone. That opens new possibilities — and challenges — to Internet radio app developers, which now must make their apps worthy of the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen.

With the iPad launching tomorrow (April 3), Pandora, NPR, CBS Interactive and AccuRadio have unveiled their specialized iPad apps.


To say the iPhone has helped Pandora is a bit of an understatement. Ten million users had signed up with Pandora through iPhones in December (RAIN coverage here) and the device is probably the most popular phone among the 21 million who have listened to Pandora from a mobile phone.

For the iPad though, Pandora has an “entirely new” app, “built from the ground up for the iPad,” as CTO Tom Conrad writes on the Pandora blog (here). New features include rich artist information, designed to make the app a “lean-in” experience. The player controls are at the top of the screen with user-made channels listed on the left. The whole layout seems to resemble the desktop iTunes interface, which should be familiar to most iPad users.


NPR has been very proactive as far as the iPad is concerned. They built an iPad-friendly version of their site (here) and polled their listeners about the device (RAIN coverage here). Their iPad app resembles the iPhone version but takes advantage of the iPad’s large screen. For example, audio controls stay at the bottom of the screen, allowing for quick and easy control of radio streams while reading articles or viewing photos. Users can access NPR programs and over 1,000 member-station streams from the application and bookmark their favorites. NPR has more on their iPad app here and here.


CBS Interactive’s Radio.com iPad application combines streaming radio from CBS Radio and Yahoo! Music with Last.fm features. In all, the application includes over 550 radio streams (150 from Yahoo! Music), not to mention “at least three dozen news, talk and sports stations from across the nation.” Last.fm provides information on artists, while music heard through the Radio.com application is automatically scrobbbled to a user’s Last.fm account. The application also includes access to news, sports scores, videos and Twitter feeds. CBS Interactive has more on the Radio.com app here.


AccuRadio’s iPad app includes a 3D line-up of artwork representing recently-heard songs, through which users can scroll as they do in iTunes’ Cover Flow. A listing of AccuRadio’s over 500 channels can be found on the left portion of the screen, with pop-up windows allowing users to ban artists or bookmark favorite stations. (AccuRadio is created by the same folks that bring you RAIN).

Pandora’s VP/Audio Sales Doug Sterne will join us in Las Vegas on April 12 for RAIN Summit West, while NPR Digital Media VP/GM Kinsey Wilson will keynote and RAIN publisher Kurt Hanson will discuss AccuRadio/Slipstream Radio. Additionally, the iPad and other mobile devices — and their effect on Internet radio — will be discussed by experts including Radio Paradise’s Bill Goldsmith, AirKast co-founder Larry Leung and JacAPPS’s Fred Jacobs in “The Leap to Mobile” panel. The discussion will be moderated by Cox Radio Interactive’s Gregg Lindahl. You can find out more about the panel, the Summit and more here. Register today for the event here.


We’re offering a limited number of free registrations for RAIN Summit West to radio professionals already registered for the NAB Show. If you’ll be in Vegas for the NAB and would like to attend the RAIN Summit as our guest, please register here and use the discount code NABBADGE. Your NAB name badge will get you in. But you must register at our registration page (and use the code) to take advantage of this offer.

If you’d like to come to the RAIN Summit and you’re not planning on attending the NAB Show, for a limited time we’ll take 30% off the broadcaster/webcaster rate. And, since the Summit is an official co-located event of the NAB Show, your registration still gains you access to the NAB exhibits. To take advantage of this offer, go to the registration page here, register as a broadcaster/webcaster and use the discount code RAINREADER.

We’re looking forward to hearing from keynote speaker Kinsey Wilson, NPR Digital Media SVP/GM; radio legend and now podcast pro Steve Dahl; and the dozens of other industry leaders who’ll be joining us. See the full schedule and speaker roster, plus other info, here. We hope to see you in Vegas!


A letter from the Commerce Department’s general counsel, Cameron Kerry, shows the Obama administration’s support for the Performance Rights Act — legislation which would required AM/FM broadcasters to pay a royalty to performers of music, not just the composers. The letter, according to Ars Technica, states that broadcasters should pay such a royalty out of fairness to artists and Internet and satellite radio (services that already have to pay a performance royalty).

“[The Performance Rights Act] would also provide a level playing field for all broadcasters to compete in the current environment of rapid technological change, including the Internet, satellite, and terrestrial broadcasters,” says the letter. Ars Technica agrees. “The current system is ridiculous; it needs to be decided in one way or another. Requiring some broadcasters to pay for music while others get a free ride, based simply on a difference in delivery mechanism, is no way to run a system, and it’s no way to encourage innovation.”

Obviously, the NAB isn’t happy with the Commerce Department’s stance. In a statement, the organization said such legislation would “kill jobs in the US and send hundreds of millions of dollars to foreign record labels.” The NAB points out 260 representatives and 27 senators have signed a non-binding resolution opposing the PRA. Ars Technica writes (here), “Congress has already tried locking both sides in a room to solve the issue; at some point soon, it will just have to vote.”

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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
Oct. 13-14 Digital Content Summit/Music: New York, NY
Oct. 18-22 CMJ Music Marathon: New York, NY
Oct. 27-30 CBI Fall Convention: Orlando, FL
Nov. 5 IBS Radio/Webcast Conf.: Boston, MA
Nov. 19 IBS Radio/Webcast Conf.: New York, NY
Dec. 3 IBS Radio/Webcast Conf.: Los Angeles, CA