Posts Tagged: ‘Pandora’

Pandora Radio launched an initial public offering (IPO) of company stock this morning, with some success. According to Wired’s Sam Gustin, the company priced the offering at $16 per share, which would value the company at about $2.6 billion. As it turned out, the stock opened at $20. From there it went up to $26, and dropped somewhat. At the end of the day when markets closed, Pandora ended up at $17.42 per share.

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Listening to streaming radio site Pandora just became a laughing matter. Today the company announced that it would begin streaming comedy, based on a newly created comedy genome. The New York Times’s Ben Sisario wrote that Pandora has 10,000 audio comedy tracks in its catalog from more than 700 comedians.

For the uninitiated, Pandora is a streaming radio Web site that gives the user some control over what he or she listens to. If you wanted to listen to Roy Clark, for example, you could start a station by seeding it with his name. The site will then populate the station with other similar artists.

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According to the Associated Press, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan has come to a decision that should please fans of Internet radio services. The court presided over a case in which several subsidiaries of Sony Music Entertainment sued Launch Media Inc., a company that created a personalized Internet radio service called LAUNCHcast.

At stake were millions of dollars in royalty fees. You see, in the United States, radio stations don’t have to pay artists to play their songs. Instead, radio stations pay a quarterly royalty fee in bulk to performance rights organizations, which, in turn, pay the artist. The way they figure it out is a little complicated — if you really want to know the methodology I suggest checking out How Music Royalties Work.

But Internet radio services don’t follow the same rules as traditional radio. Any interactive music service has to pay individual royalties to artists every time they play the artists’ songs. If the Internet radio service isn’t interactive, then it has to pay a lower rate set by the Copyright Royalty Board.

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Brad Stone of The New York Times found some evidence that suggests just that. In an article posted Saturday, he said that people are finally starting to take notice of some subscription movie- and music-streaming sites because — get this — they just work better.

Huh. Who knew?

Yep, apparently sites like Imeem, Netflix, MySpace Music, Spotify and more are attracting people who might otherwise have used file-sharing software to download programs and songs illegally. Some of them are free, with advertising used to support them. Others are subscription-based.

Stone cites two recent studies in his article, from British researchers The Leading Question and MusicAlly, both of which said that teens 14-18 used illegal file-sharing software such as BitTorrent considerably less than they did two years ago — going from 42 percent to 26 percent over a period from December 2007 to January 2009. That was in the United Kingdom.

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Yesterday, the news broke that the Internet radio industry has finally reached a deal with the agency that collects royalties for musicians and their labels, called SoundExchange. As Greg Sandoval reminded us in his post, this fight has been going on for more than two years and at times it looked bleak for the Internet radio sites.

Recording Industry Association of America Vice President Steve Marks said he’s happy that there’s an agreement because the recording industry wants to use new business models and avoid alienating partners. Well, this agreement will help, but Internet radio sites are certainly going to be paying for what they deliver to you. And you might, too.

Under the agreement, Internet radio sites have to share 25 percent of revenue or pay 0.08 cents per stream — retroactively, dating all the way back to 2006 — whichever is greater. And that rate’s going to go up through 2015, to 0.14 cents.

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It’s movie night, and you’re looking for something to watch. Or perhaps you’re looking for new stuff to add to your Netflix queue. Jinni might be able to help you out. Like music radio site Pandora, Jinni employs people who analyze movies to create a movie genome — once you’ve told the site the kinds of things you like, Jinni will attempt to match your tastes and give you some recommendations. Each movie is tagged with around 50 aspects, which the site’s computer algorithm uses to compare Jinni’s movie genes to your requests.

Unlike Pandora, you can’t use Jinni to stream movies directly to your desktop. It will sync with your Netflix account, however, which could be very useful. Jinni’s not limited to major motion pictures. You can look up shorts, TV shows, online video and other content, too.

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