Thursday, December 6, 2012

Can Clear Channel Really Compete On A Digital Level and Have Variety Within Their Playlists?

Clear Channel will always care more about their money belt than promoting real music stations
Pandora is slowing in it's stock price and the sharks are swarming, on what might be the next hottest commodity for streaming music, to be comparable to a service such as Spotify. Clear Channel's has dropped their fangs and are now plunging into digital music with their acquisition of executive media talent. One good aspect might be the ability of new bands to gain a bigger audience, on a mass level. 

If Clear Channel is making a serious push to become a contender in the digital streaming music market, will they still have the limited playlists, akin to their terrestrial stations? Also, after looking at reviews on Amazon, will iHeartRadio continue to force you to login to facebook with the app? Thank you, to the college and small market radio stations for being one of the last frontiers for promoting new music on FM stations and keeping regional music alive and kicking. 

Read the original article below on AdWeek

Can Clear Channel's iHeartRadio really compete with Spotify and Sirius XM?
"Clear Channel’s streaming service iHeartRadio is turning up the volume in an aggressive bid to take on red-hot Spotify and Pandora.

Over the past six months, Clear Channel’s digital service has recruited a slew of media execs, including president Tim Castelli (veteran of AOL and Google) and svp of marketing Holly Lang from Condé Nast. In July, longtime Microsoft veteran Rick Song was named evp of national digital sales. Song has been on a hiring spree of his own, tapping sales execs for Chicago and Los Angeles.

“Now that we have a leadership team, we are in the process of building our organization over the next six months,” said Song, who also pointed to Clear Channel’s artist relationships as a key competitive advantage. He cited September’s second annual iHeartRadio Festival in Las Vegas, featuring Taylor Swift and Green Day.

Clear Channel definitely has pushed its way into the digital music mosh pit. IHeartRadio’s app, which streams 1,500 terrestrial radio stations, along with digital stations and 15 million on-demand songs, is gaining traction. Since launching on Facebook last year, it’s attracted 20 million registered users and 5 million fans, said Song. The mobile app has been downloaded 135 million times since its launch four years ago. IHeartRadio also powers Yahoo Music’s radio service, which streamed the iHeartRadio Festival and continues to show highlight clips.

It all sounds impressive. But Pandora still commands 70 percent of the Web radio market and 6.6 percent of the total U.S. radio audience, per Triton Media, while Spotify this month scored a staggering $100 million from Coca-Cola in new funding.

While the competition is intensifying, the economics remain questionable for all. Unlike terrestrial stations, music-streaming companies pay exorbitant royalty fees to artists (which is why Clear Channel and Pandora are jointly lobbying Congress to pass a more favorable law). Also, the ad market is still paltry, and agencies don’t know what to do with Internet radio or how to value it. “The whole industry is struggling with this,” said Maribeth Papuga, evp of direct local activation at MediaVest. “You know people are using it. But you have to justify it.”

Clear Channel at least knows how to sell to radio buyers, she said. But interestingly, the company has positioned iHeartRadio as a national radio buy, as Pandora makes a regional push. “What we’ve been good at is being a local company,” said Song. “Now we’re going out there and saying, ‘What is the power of our total reach and audience?’”

Having a bigger sales team will help. But what iHeartRadio really needs is more listeners. “Once they gain scale, they’ll be poised to gain market share,” said Lydia Foy, managing director of local audio, Horizon Media."