RAIN Summit Nashville: Podcasting (By Any Other Name), Music, Millennials, And More
September 20, 2016 at 3:41 PM (PT)
By PERRY MICHAEL SIMON in NASHVILLE:
The RAIN SUMMIT took its customary spot the day before the NAB and RAB's RADIO SHOW, this year in NASHVILLE, where the day-long digital audio seminar occupied a ballroom at the HILTON NASHVILLE and featured a keynote interview with BIG MACHINE LABEL GROUP Founder/Pres./COO SCOTT BORCHETTA and a visit from AUDIBLE SVP ERIC NUZUM.
To Boldly Go...
RAIN founder KURT HANSON's welcome speech outlined the changes in the digital audio space and emphasized the theme "Embrace the Future!," including his obligatory "Star Trek" references. He noted that the radio device itself has diminished in numbers according to research asking people how many they own, but added that the number doesn't include devices like smartphones, computers, tablets, and video streaming devices like ROKU and APPLE TV, which also serve as "radios," delivering streaming audio programming; the cumulative effect is an expansion of "radio" as defined by including online offerings. The talk gave a primer about streaming audio services and podcasts, the impact of unlimited data plans, barriers to entry, and other trending topics.
Audible: Don't Call Them Podcasts
NUZUM took the stage for a "fireside chat" (without the fire) with RAIN's BRAD HILL to talk about AUDIBLE's venture into original programming -- not to be called "podcasts" -- with the AUDIBLE CHANNELS subscription service, recently added to AMAZON Prime. NUZUM noted that AUDIBLE had experimented with original programming over its 20-year history, including shows with RICKY GERVAIS and ROBIN WILLIAMS. He explained why his company avoids calling its shows "podcasts" (he says it's become a pejorative term), and how podcasting has access to none of the demographic information needed to develop the business, which AUDIBLE can access via its subscription base.
Podcasting in Perspective
AMPLIFI MEDIA CEO and ALL ACCESS columnist STEVE GOLDSTEIN moderated a podcast panel with ACAST's SARAH VAN MOSEL, AUDIOBOOM's BRENDAN REGAN, PANOPLY's BRENDAN MONAGHAN, DGital MEDIA's BRIAN LANDAU and TRITON DIGITAL's JOHN ROSSO, and the talk turned to discovery (VAN MOSEL pointing towards marketing shows by "piggybacking" on larger shows; LANDAU explaining the use of different channels and social media using different strategies), varying levels of success (MONAGHAN saying that "it's a matter of discipline" to determine if things are working and react accordingly), attrition (REGAN talking about when podcasters lose interest or get frustrated when success doesn't follow immediately; VAN MOSEL noting the ability of small shows to attract revenue via networks and content verticals), and the sameness of advertisers on all shows (GOLDSTEIN saying that his son perceives that all shows have the same advertisers; REGAN added that "you hear the same advertisers because it works" and they come back for more).
ROSSO spoke about the resistance of brand advertisers to podcasting, one being overcome (the lack of scale, countered with the use of network) and the other still outstanding (measurement, compared to streaming audio, which is trackable, and radio, the effectiveness of which has been challenged but which radio salespeople have been able to sell through). The panel also expressed skepticism about some companies' claims that they can pull demographic data from iTunes downloads. And ROSSO turned the tables on GOLDSTEIN by asking about radio's position on digital; GOLDSTEIN noted the ease of repurposing radio content via digital and added, "if they're gonna listen to other audio, I'd rather they listened to mine."
Big Machine's Success Story
Closing the morning portion of the day, BORCHETTA sat down with ROLLING STONE's BEVILLE DUNKERLEY to talk about his label's success in the digital era, but the talk started with the warning that changes in consumer behavior poses a major decision point for the industry. BORCHETTA asserted that "if people leave terrestrial radio, there's a good chance they may not come back," which leads to the music industry needing to decide whether to be a lean-in or lean-back business, because "it's happening faster than expected... Once (listeners are) in SPOTIFY or PANDORA, they don't leave." He discussed the industry's need to monetize every spin and establish that music has value, saying that he is now seeing "significant growth" from that position. However, he added in response to an audience comment that he does not see any of the parties -- the streamers or broadcasters -- as a "threat," instead seeing nothing but change and opportunity to lead. Responding to streaming exclusives, BORCHETTA noted that his label did one with APPLE MUSIC for TAYLOR SWIFT and that exclusives are "nothing new... we've done them with WALMART and BEST BUY" over the years, but that making non-subscribers feel "left out" may become a "huge issue" in the future.
Asked by SEAN ROSS about developing artists who can make people buy albums rather than singles, BORCHETTA pointed towards SWIFT's ability to develop a fan base that will buy albums but added that "we're in a hit-based" era, making developing album sales more difficult. BORCHETTA also related success stories from his NASH ICON label venture with CUMULUS, including inspiring REBA MCINTYRE to record with the assurance that she would get radio airplay. And he revealed that "we're a minute away" from launching mini-concert podcasts, suggesting that an announcement may be coming as soon as later this week.
Millennials Listen (But Not On A Radio)
Consultant VALERIE GELLER hosted a panel of Millennial media students from MIDDLE TENNESSEE STATE UNIVERSITY to explore their audio consumption habits; the anecdotal information included what they wake up to (streaming music services, social media for news, apps for weather and news, Reddit, television), device usage ("I don't know even where to buy an alarm clock," one panelist said about using her phone as a wake-up device; none of the panelists owns a radio outside their cars), and app usage (a few radio apps, but also podcasts; one panelist has no radio apps at all, and none use radio apps). Breaking news sends them to GOOGLE and online sources.
Asked about younger siblings' media usage, one panelist said that her younger (high school age) sister listens to radio more because her friends do and because she likes the genres of music that "old-fashioned" radio plays.
Are You On The List?
MUSICWATCH's RUSS CRUPNICK posited that playlists on streaming music services are the new radio in a presentation that asked radio to consider how to migrate the playlist concept to broadcast applications. He pointed out that streaming has taken a large bite out of overall music listening hours, and looked at reasons people use playlists (comfort and access to favorite and familiar hit songs, occasional surprises and rediscovery, ease of use), and results of a study which found that 90% of SPOTIFY and APPLE MUSIC subscribers use playlists, with 9 out of 10 having created playlists in the past two months. Since wanting to hear familiar songs is the top reason listeners say they use playlists, with discovery, mood, and wanting to hear favorite artists right behind, familiarity would be a key element for radio as well, as is the idea that consumers don't care who creates the list -- a person or an algorithm -- as long as the music is what they want. But radio, CRUPNICK said, should worry that playlists are contributing to listeners spending more time with the digital services and less with traditional radio.
Digital, Nashville Style
The Country format's challenges in the online digital world was revisited in a panel hosted by NYU Music Business Program director and "MUSONOMICS" podcast host LARRY MILLER. and panelists SONY MUSIC NASHVILLE's KEN ROBOLD, BIG MACHINE LABEL GROUP COO ANDREW KAUTZ, and UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP Sr. Dir. of Streaming and Digital Marketing ANNIE ORTMEIER. MILLER cited recent growth for the music industry and growth in the streaming music business as well; ORTMEIER pointed out that the Country audience slower than those in other formats to move away from terrestrial radio to streaming services, although the growth in digital is higher than for other formats so far this year. ROBOLD added that Country's share of digital remains low contrasted with its share of the market overall ("we have a long way to go"), and KAUTZ termed the Country audience "more of a lean-back audience" slower to adapt, but said that his label is still selling a lot of physical media. The panel discussed artist development (KAUTZ touting the use of data to help build an artist's audience), radio's role in validating the hits, direct licensing between labels and broadcasters, and what hasn't changed between labels and radio ("as we'd say in this town," ORTMEIER said, "it all starts with the song").
Listening Behind the Wheel
EDISON RESEARCH's NICOLE BENIAMINI presented research on in-car audio and how radio is now sharing the dash with digital competitors. The information included results of EDISON's "Share of Ear" study indicating that 71% of Americans listen to audio in the car, as opposed to 67% at home, 18% at work, and 14% elsewhere, but 50% of all listening is at home with 30% in the car, 15% at work (73 minutes per day), and the rest elsewhere. Of in-car listening, 77% of the time was spent listening to music, 10% on news, and 9% with talk/personality. But, significantly for radio, 78% of the listening was to AM/FM radio, trailed badly by "listening to own music" (17%), satellite (15%), streaming (5%), and podcasts (1%, but, BENIAMINI said, "likely to grow in the future"). The numbers are likely to change, however, as newer cars with more connected in-dash systems cycle into use; newer cars show a "significant decrease" in AM/FM listening, affected by free-trial SIRIUSXM and more streamed audio. The numbers were supported by anecdotal interviews with consumers, one of whom said that she no longer listens to AM/FM radio because "I don't have to."
Old Media Meets New Media
How radio companies are participating in digital growth was the theme of a panel featuring COX MEDIA GROUP's TIM CLARKE, FEDERATED MEDIA's JAMES DERBY, BONNEVILLE's MARK PRESTON, and ESPN's PATRICK POLKING. The panel covered using different social media and digital platforms for different content and formats, using Facebook for hyper-targeted marketing, deciding which social platforms to use, metrics to determine effectiveness, integrated cross-platform sales opportunities, registration, on-demand/time shifting vs. podcasting, and related topics.
Royalty Update and Other Legal Matters
WILKINSON, BARKER, KNAUER LLP attorney DAVID OXENFORD updated the assemblage on the latest in digital royalty news and legal advice, including the non-amendment of the ASCAP and BMI consent decrees and the controversy over the treatment of individual songs spilt between the performing rights organizations, IRVING AZOFF's new PRO (GLOBAL MUSIC RIGHTS), the potential fracturing of music rights and the resultant problems in licensing; SOUNDEXCHANGE's appeal of the Copyright Board's 2015 webcasting decision; the status of the pre-1972 royalty cases and the dispute over whether a digital copy and remastering of pre-1972 recordings are "new" recordings for the purpose of copyright determination; other uses of music, including podcasts and user-generated content; and the burgeoning field of lawsuits against radio stations for posting copyrighted photos on their websites, as well as the need for radio stations to be mindful of privacy, copyright, international, and patent issues.
Brand Advertising In Podcasting? One Client Gave It A Shot... And It Worked
NEW YORK LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY Senior Associate, Brand Strategy and Experience ANDREW WERTS discussed his company's use of two podcasts and research it commissioned to see how the experiment fared. WERTS walked moderator BRAD HILL through the process NEW YORK LIFE went through, from being pitched by WNYC STUDIOS on reaching Millennials through podcasts (FREAKONOMICS RADIO and RADIOLAB) and the campaign itself (host-read, dynamic insertion, two months) to working with WNYC to commission a third-party study to measure the results. WERTS termed the results "amazing," with brand awareness up 14%, favorability up 47%, and purchase consideration up 33%. The success of the campaign has led NEW YORK LIFE to expand to six shows (WNYC's "DEATH SEX AND MONEY," "2 DOPE QUEENS," and "THE NEW YORKER RADIO HOUR" among the additions) and add television on college football and FX's "ATLANTA."
The Joy (Or Pain) Of Selling Digital
The challenges of selling digital audio advertising was the topic for a panel moderated by ROCKIE THOMAS of ADSWIZZ and including PODTRAC's MARK MCCRERY, AUDIOHQ's MATT CUTAIR, ADLARGE's JAY GREEN, and PANDORA's GABE TARTAGLIA. CUTAIR noted a "ton of organic interest" in podcasting from agencies, and added that another, bigger trend is the addition of podcasts to SPOTIFY and PANDORA that may create confusion but also offer the spoken word content a huge platform for wider distribution; he also said that he sees a consolidation of digital audio budgets back into radio buying, changing the competitive landscape. TARTAGLIA agreed that the agency attitude has evolved towards looking at digital and radio as one; GREEN added that the "rule of three" has fallen by the wayside and that the buyers have to be educated and evangelized on how to buy podcasts and what works in that realm. And CUTAIR predicted more regional and local advertisers coming into the podcast space.
Two Platforms, One Number
The sessions came to a close with another "fireside chat," this one with WIDEORBIT's SUSIE HEDRICK talking with NIELSEN's ROB KASS on radio simulcasts over the Internet, with KASS explaining how his company gets its numbers and reports the information and HEDRICK discussing ad replacement versus full simulcasting.
Winners of the 2016 RAIN Internet Radio Awards:
Best Single Stream Webcaster: RADIO PARADISE
Best Streaming Broadcast Station: ENTERCOM AC KOIT/SAN FRANCISCO
Best Audio Startup: OTTO RADIO
Best Podcast: ESPN AUDIO, "DUNKUMENTARIES"
Best Overall Digital Strategy: iHEARTRADIO
Best Overall Online Radio Service: SPOTIFY