Saturday, June 20, 2009

FMQB: Radio Industry News, Music Industry Updates, Arbitron Ratings, Music News and more!

As reported in FMQB: "the musicFIRST Coalition filed a formal request with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), asking them to investigate and take action against radio stations over reports that some of them are refusing to air music from artists who support the Performance Royalty. "

Specifically, they're targeting WMPH, a high school radio station in Wilmington, DE that mostly plays dance and electronic music. WMPH decided to boycott those artists that were promoting Music First. And this likely didn't affect their playlists at all, as most dance/electronic artists that get airplay on non-commercial radio are not affiliated with the Big 4 labels that are behind MusicFirst.

While I'm not opposed removing terrestrial radio's exemption that allows them to play any publicly-released sound recording without royalties, I also think that royalty should be reasonable. And I also think that stations that make licensing deals with the labels they play- labels that still want the promotional exposure- shouldn't be forced to pay a licensing fee for using recordings they don't use.

John Simpson at SoundExchange has repeatedly encouraged direct licensing in response to the CRB rates, including this quote from 2007: "they always have the outlet of going in direct licensing" (Royalty Week PDF)

So why is MusicFirst (of which SoundExchange is a supporting member and financial backer of) getting so upset when a broadcaster says it won't play material from artists who are proponents of this royalty?

You can't force broadcasters to play your music and then charge them for it.

Perhaps once more broadcasters start following the lead of WMPH, we'll start to hear more innovative music on the airwaves, and not just the same old derivative stuff that the big labels try to foist off on the public all the time.

And then maybe them, the labels will start to acknowledge the promotional value that radio exposure can give.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Some things broke, some things improved

When Apple release the new 3.0 iPhone software yesterday, we found a bug in the SomaFM iPhone App. Here's what happens:

Some channels don't get displayed in the listings, while others are being listed twice. Well, they're not really being listed twice, for some reason the wrong text and graphics is showing up in the wrong position in that list, so it will seem like some channels are listed twice. As a temporary work-around, you can get to missing channel by clicking on one of the duplicate entries.

We're working on fixing the bug now, but we have to wait for the approval process again, so it will likely be a week or longer before the fix is available in the store. Really sorry about that. You can vent your frustrations in our iPhone support area.

In better news, the iPhone 3.0 software brings better features to our WebApp. If you have the 3.0 software installed on your iPhone, you now have access to our aacPlus streams, which sound great over EDGE networks. We have aacPlus support for Groove Salad, Space Station Soma, Secret Agent, Indie Pop Rocks and Illinois Street Lounge right now, we're planning to get a couple more channels up real soon now (most likely Boot Liquor, Lush and Drone Zone).

We've also rolled out streaming on more Nokia platforms, including the 5800, and the new Palm Pre. I'm excited how the mobile platforms are really taking off finally! It's been a long time, but internet radio in your car and wherever you are is finally starting to become common.

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