Fixing Podcasting’s Music Problem

When I speak to audiences of podcasters, I often joke that if you feature licensed music on your podcast, a lawyer will shoot you in the face. Well, this week I got to speak in front of a room full of the people that ordered the hit: music industry executives. I was given the honor of keynoting the Podcasting Track at this year’s MusicBiz 2018 in Nashville. Given how little these two universes intersect in practice, I felt like I was giving a keynote extolling the virtues of beef to VeganCon 2018.

Now, there have always been music podcasts; they’re just difficult. I started listening to music podcasts all the way back in 2005, with Brian Ibbott’s Coverville and my friend Chris McDonald’s Indiefeed . In their cases, they had to individually clear the rights of every song. Today, there are some very popular music podcasts–but they often come directly from labels or artists who can successfully clear and/or monetize licensed music. I listen to Group Therapy and Anjunadeep Editions every single week, which are shows produced by the labels that own much of the music featured. Music podcasts could and should be successful–-according to Edison’s quarterly Share of Ear® research, we spend 77% of our time listening to music, and 23% to spoken word audio. But there is no clear path for the average podcast producer to include licensed music on podcasts.

There is still a lot of confusion out there amongst podcasters about using licensed music. Nearly every day in the various Facebook podcasting groups I belong to, I see someone claiming that it’s OK to include that Imagine Dragons song in their show, because it’s “fair use.” Fair Use is a legal term, not a general sense of fairness, and let me tell you–there is almost NOTHING you can think of in terms of podcasting licensed music that is considered Fair Use. For clarity on these matters, I always rely on the sound legal judgement of my friend David Oxenford, who summarizes the main issues succinctly here. TL;DR–see “Face, Shooting in the.”

Here’s the thing: back when podcasting was a Rube Goldbergian system of pulleys and gears to download a file and sync it with your Shuffle, podcasting music was essentially like printing your own CD’s–which means paying every royalty you could think of. But things have changed, both in music and in podcasting. Spotify Mobile lets you cache songs, which is functionally like downloading them, since you can “keep” them as long as you are a subscriber. More importantly, Both Spotify and Pandora are ramping up their podcast content, and Spotify is already claiming a spot as one of the leading podcast clients after the Apple ecosystem. There’s nothing “downloaded” about a podcast from Pandora and Spotify–it’s functionally streamed, just like the music. There’s not much that makes a show on these streaming services a “podcast” other than saying it is a podcast. Tech has changed, and with it so has the relevance of some of the various rights and licenses surrounding the performance of music.

Given those changes, it’s time for the music industry to change, too. With a simple, blanket license for podcasting that isn’t too onerous, the labels could print free money. If that isn’t impetus enough, consider the stat I posted earlier that we spend 77% of our time listening to music, and 23% spoken word. If the streaming services become more and more important to the podcasting space (and I believe they will), that means the labels will theoretically take a 23% haircut from the royalties the streaming services pay them, as some of the time formerly spent listening to licensed music shifts to podcasts. And that is if we believe that 77/23 is static. In four years, Podcasting has doubled its Share of Ear from 2% of all audio consumed to 4%. That is remarkable growth. To date, that growth has come from a shifting of the spoken word pie, but it’s not hard to see time spent with podcasts encroaching on music as well.

What all of this means is that figuring out a simple way to license music for podcasts is a win-win for everyone involved. Lowering the barriers here will result in more music, more royalties, and better podcasts! I can tell you from experience–doing a music podcast without actually being able to play music is like ordering the tasting menu at Gotham and spending the rest of the night having the dishes described to you in detail but not actually served.

And for my fellow podcasters, you want this to happen. Being legally impaired against frictionless use of music in podcasts locks you out of the earbuds of millions of Americans. Fix this, and watch podcasting explode. I was encouraged by the reception I got at MusicBiz on the topic. Let’s find a way in the next few years to stop the shootings.

Listening to Radio Streams in USA Represents Less than 10% of All Listening to Broadcast Radio

Download the complete presentation here.

The annual conference of the American Association of Public Opinion Researchers is running this week in Denver, and Edison Research is proud that our team is giving four different presentations on best practices in survey research.

One of these presentations is from Edison VP Randy Brown, who is documenting the issues that come from implementing surveys online that attempt to measure internet behaviors. .

As you can see in Randy’s report, streaming behaviors will be overstated in a survey implemented online because it is difficult to reach lighter internet users from internet sample frames, even if one is using high-quality internet samples. Beyond that, about 10% of Americans still have no online access and are entirely invisible to online research.

The report documents the steps we take to make sure that our research represents the total population – using our Share of Ear® studies as his example.

One prime example of why these steps need to be taken can be seen with regard to listening to the content produced by America’s broadcast radio stations.  Share of Ear® determines whether listening to radio content is coming via the over-the-air signal (whether analog or HD) or from the station’s streams.

Our estimate is that 8% of the combined listening to broadcast radio content is from the streams and 92% is from over-the-air.

Nielsen has produced similar estimates. These numbers would be vastly higher (and incorrect) if we did not take the steps we do to correctly represent all listeners and all listening.

This is not, of course, to say that radio streams are unimportant – in fact they are crucial.  It is to say, however, that one can be misled by estimates that are not designed to fully represent a population, as Randy discusses in his talk.

It is worth noting that we see quite a difference based on the type of content.  For news, sports and personalities, streams comprise 12% of the total listening, whereas for music the streams are 6%.  Perhaps this speaks to streaming being more vital for radio’s more unique aspects.

 

 

Joe Lenski

NYAAPOR to Honor Edison Co-Founder Lenski

Edison Research is pleased to announce that Executive Vice President and co-founder Joe Lenski has been chosen to receive the 2018 Harry W. O’Neill Award, presented by the New York Chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research (NYAAPOR).

The award is given annually to honor lifetime achievement in public opinion research. Lenski is being recognized for his outstanding contribution to the understanding of elections throughout the world during his career.

Under Lenski’s supervision, Edison Research conducts all exit polls for the television networks and other news organizations comprising the National Election Pool, and has done so for each of the last five election cycles. Lenski has played a key role in every American nation election since 1988, and has also been instrumental in the implementation of exit polls for national elections in Cyprus, Iraq, Venezuela, and the Republic of Georgia.

“NYAAPOR is very pleased to honor Joe Lenski with the 2018 Harry W. O’Neill award. This award recognizes Joe’s outstanding contribution to public opinion research and long standing commitment to NYAAPOR,” said Chintan Turakhia, NYAAPOR President.

“This award is a testament to Joe’s tireless efforts and his commitment to the importance of public opinion research,” said Larry Rosin, President and co-founder of Edison Research. “Joe’s leadership on the polls that drive understanding of the American electorate is crucial to the advancement of social science in America and beyond. We are thrilled that he is being recognized in this way. I believe he truly embodies the spirit and legacy of Harry W. O’Neill.”

“I am honored to receive the NYAAPOR Harry O’Neill Award. NYAAPOR has been a very important part of my career and I am delighted to follow in the footsteps of so many colleagues, mentors, and friends who have received this award,” said Lenski.

Lenski will be honored at the NYAAPOR Annual Awards Night ceremony on Thursday, June 21, 2018, at GfK, 200 Liberty Street, New York, NY. For more information or to attend: https://www.nyaapor.org/nyaapor-annual-awards-night

Moms and Media 2018: Smart Speakers, Smartphones, Social Media

Moms and Media 2018 brought us more mobile behavior, new media consumption and kids on technology.  For the first time, Moms and Media combined two separate studies to showcase not only the way moms interact with media and technology, but also moms’ view on children and technology.

With data points drawn from both the Infinite Dial series from Edison Research and Triton Digital, and a survey fielded by the Research Moms at Edison, the latest report shows how moms in the United States continue to own their tech toolkit, as well as how they perceive the influence of technology on children.

Moms in 2018 continue their mobile tendencies, maintaining a firm grip on smartphones.  With smartphone ownership among moms still on the rise, the mobile device remains a must-have.  In 2018 we see that 92% of moms own a smartphone.

With those smartphones, moms are consuming media, engaging social sites and staying organized with various apps.  They are even talking to their phones, and the smartphones are talking back.  Two-thirds of smartphone moms report using the voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant.

In 2018, talking to devices is a trend on the rise.  We see smart speakers definitely working their way into moms’ routine this year. Smart speaker ownership has almost quadrupled, with Amazon Alexa leading the way.  The report shows that 23% of moms own some type of smart speaker, up from the 6% that said so last year.

Moms have had a history of strong social media engagement.  While 2018 still reflects a healthy social media presence of moms, usage is down from previous years, with 89% of moms now using social media compared to where it was at 93% last year.

We know that technology is a major force in the life of a mom, but how does that translate to children?  Managing children’s exposure to technology is a challenge, as it continues to integrate itself into their daily lives at home and school.   Four in ten moms report being less restrictive with their children using technology than they expected to be, while about a quarter (24%) said they are more restrictive than they expected.

 

For the full 2018 Moms and Media report from Edison Research see below.

The Infinite Dial Australia 2018

The Infinite Dial Australia, by Edison Research and Triton Digital, is the newest study of digital media consumer behavior in the Infinite Dial series and second annual study to be conducted in Australia. It is modeled after the original Infinite Dial report, which has been conducted yearly in the U.S. since 1998, and was conducted for the first time in Canada last year. The Australian Infinite Dial Study was commissioned by Commercial Radio Australia (CRA), Southern Cross Austereo (SCA) via their PodcastOne subsidiary, and Triton Digital.

Some highlights from the study include:

  • Despite the presence of a variety of audio options, radio consumption continues to rise in Australia, with 88% of people aged 12+ having listened to an AM/FM/DAB+ in the last week, up from 85% and outpacing the U.S.’s 65%. Radio is the leading audio platform.
  • Radio is the choice for in-car listening, with 89% of people having listened to AM/FM radio in the car in the last month. Seventy percent of Australians use AM/FM radio as the audio source they use most often in-car, leading Canada (63%) and the U.S. (56%).
  • Familiarity with the term “podcasting” has grown from 72% to 78% in Australia. Thirteen percent of Australians have listened to a podcast in the last week, up from 10% in 2017.  An average of five podcasts are listened to each week by those who are weekly podcast listeners.  Fourteen percent of weekly podcasts are by Australian radio stations or Australian radio personalities.
  • Facebook usage as “the social media brand used most often” is down from 73% in 2017 to 60% in 2018, but overall social media usage by Australians is up to 82% in this study.
  • Ninety percent of Australians own a Smartphone, and 96% of 25-54 year-olds in Australia own a smartphone.
  • Regarding Smart Speakers, Google Home leads Amazon Alexa with a 61% awareness versus 28%. Smart speaker ownership is 5% in Australia.
  • Netflix remains the most popular on-demand video service, with 41% of Australians subscribing. In the last week in Australia 49% of people have used Netflix, Foxtel Play, Go or Now, Stan or Amazon Prime.

 

How the study was conducted:
The Australian Infinite Dial study was conducted in the first quarter of  2018 and uses a nationally representative survey of 1009 people and is a random probability telephone sample, comprising both mobile phones and landlines, of all Australians aged 12 and older.

About Edison Research:
Edison Research conducts survey research and provides strategic information to a broad array of clients, including Activision, AMC Theatres, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, Google, Gulf News, the U.S. International Broadcasting Bureau, Pandora, Samsung, Siemens, Sony, Time Warner and Yahoo. Edison Research works with many of the largest American radio ownership groups, including Bonneville, Emmis, Entercom, CBS Radio and Radio One. Another specialty for Edison is its work for media companies throughout the world, conducting research in North America, South America, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Edison Research is the sole provider of election exit poll data for the National Election Pool. Edison is also the leading provider of consumer exit polling and has conducted face-to-face research in almost every imaginable venue.

About Triton Digital:
Triton Digital® is the global technology and services leader to the digital audio and podcast industry.  Operating in more than 40 countries, Triton Digital provides innovative technology that enables broadcasters, podcasters, and online music services to build their audience, maximize their revenue, and streamline their day-to-day operations. In addition, Triton Digital powers the global online audio industry with Webcast Metrics®, the leading online audio measurement service, that makes it easy for advertisers and brands to determine the best destination and time to reach their target audiences. Through unparalleled integrity, excellence, teamwork, and accountability, Triton Digital remains committed to connecting audio, audience, and advertisers to continuously fuel the growth of the global online industry.

Contact
Edison Research

Tom Webster
+1 908-707-4707
twebster@edisonresearch.com

Triton Digital
Kristin Charron
+1 514-448-4037
Kristin.Charron@tritondigital.com