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adStream: The benefits of pre-roll

Pre-roll commercials, which play before the first song when a custom station is launched in a music service, make a lot of sense. This might seem counter-intuitive to radio listeners, every one of whom has endured the experience of tuning into a favorite station at the start of a long spot set. But a single short ad before the music starts can grab attention without pushing away the user. We find a good one in this edition of adStream. Continue Reading

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Apple/U2 follow-up: blurring the meaning of ownership

Four days after our initial coverage of Apple’s forced distribution of U2’s new album, the controversy continues to swirl. A good deal of media punditry has concluded that the marketing gambit, in which Apple put the band’s new album, Songs of Innocence, into the music collections across the iOS mobile landscape, was an outright failure. But 33-million people listened to the album, making the experiment a large success. Continue Reading

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Gift horse: Apple/U2 promo suffers angry user pushback

Apple’s music platforms — iTunes and iTunes Radio — have issued innumerable album previews and exclusive releases. Promotions of those events seek to drive sales in an era when streaming is eating into music ownership. Taking the concept a step further, Apple bundled U2 released U2’s new album, Songs of Innocence, globally, by dumping the album directly into iPhones, iPods, and iPads throughout its vast user base. Much gnashing of teeth ensued. Continue Reading

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New comScore report: Mobile is huge for digital media, but favors well-established apps

comScore’s U.S. Mobile App Report covers some interesting ground in how people are (and aren’t) using their smartphones and tablets. Activity on mobile devices makes up 60 percent of digital media time in the U.S. The majority of that digital media is consumed through apps; those programs account for 52 percent of the country’s digital media time. Continue Reading

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Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers to helm iTunes Radio too

Sources said that Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers will be overseeing iTunes Radio going forward in addition to his leadership of the Beats streaming service. The Wall Street Journal reported that having Rogers at the head of both the iTunes Radio and Beats Music could help keep a cohesive feel across the two services. Continue Reading

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When Hertz asked, “How hard can it be?”

by Kurt Hanson

One of the hottest trends in the transportation field nowadays is that of “car sharing,” a/k/a short-term, neighborhood-distributed car rentals, a la Zipcar. In this narrative, which is both hilarious and horrendous, founding editor Kurt Hanson describes the stunning failed experience of trying a newly-developed car-sharing service offered by legacy car-rental company Hertz. Spinning off a new business line separate from a firm’s core competency isn’t as easy as it might seem — and Kurt Hanson extends that point to the Internet radio industry. Continue Reading

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iTunes Radio (finally) becomes a top-15 app, with Apple-only distribution

Apple’s iTunes Radio broke into the top-15 list of app usage in May, according to traffic measurement company comScore. While this breakthrough might not seem like an epic milestone, the buzz around it has a “Finally!” aspect to it. But this report does not compare iTunes Radio exactly with other music-app use across the mobile landscape, for two reasons. Continue Reading

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How do graduating high school students listen to online music?

Niche, a research firm founded by Carnegie Mellon University in 2002 with a focus on early-life decision-making, has released an interesting study of media choices among graduating high school students. When surveyed about listening to music, graduating high-schoolers divulged their music-service habits. Continue Reading

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T-Mobile game changer: Unlimited data for music

Wireless company T-Mobile announced a change to its cell-phone service plans that potentially impacts how consumers choose their telecom providers, music services, and even cars. Called Music Freedom, it affords unlimited music streaming for “major” music services, regardless of the plan’s data cap. A related deal with Rhapsody sweetens the package. In an era when paying for data can be more burdensome than paying for music, this initiative could turn some heads. Continue Reading