MusicMatch Still Leads All Channels and Networks in Total Listening Hours – Arbitron

The latest Arbitron MeasureCast Ratings of Internet Radio broadcasters, for the week of January 6 – 12, 2003, show that MusicMatch Artist Match maintains its position as the number one individual Web channel with 291,602 hours of Total Time Spent Listening (TTSL).

Internet-only Web channel RADIOIO Eclectic was ranked number two with 283,772 hours of TTSL. Virgin Radio was ranked number three with 278,136 hours of TTSL.

Three classical stations – WQXR-FM, and KING-FM – made it into the top ten channels for the week. WQXR-FM was ranked number five at 226,620 hours of TTSL. Internet-only station ranked number eight with 116,428 hours of TTSL. KING-FM was ranked number nine with 102,879 hours of TTSL.

MusicMatch also dominates the rankings of Webcast Networks (as opposed to individual channels), weighing in at 1,221,801 hours of TTSL. StreamAudio ranked number two among networks with 1,004,167 hours of TTSL. Clear Channel Worldwide was ranked number three with 633,596 hours of TTSL.

Internet Radio Listening Index and Domographic Highlights

Arbitron’s MeasureCast Internet Radio Listening Index increased for the week of January 6. Since the beginning of 2003, the Total Time Spent Listening to online stations measured by Arbitron’s MeasureCast Ratings grew 91 percent. The index is a representation of the trend in the Total Time Spent Listening to a spectrum of online radio stations.

  • The peak listening day was Tuesday, January 7 with 19 percent of the week’s online listening
  • 74 percent of weekly online listening took place between 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. Pacific time
  • 14 percent of the week’s total listening took place during the weekend
  • 86 percent of the measured listeners were between the ages of 18 and 5
  • 70 percent of listeners were men; 30 percent were women
  • In the U.S., 33 percent of listeners resided in the South; 31 percent in the West; 19 percent in the Northeast; and 17 percent in the Midwest

Top 10 Internet Radio Networks (Jan. 6 – Jan. 12)

Rank Company TTSL Cume
1 MUSICMATCH 1,221,801 370,441
2 StreamAudio 1,004,167 154,569
3 Clear Channel Worldwide 633,596 129,985
4 Warp Radio 617,326 102,556
5 StreamGuys 511,787 120,288
6 Moontaxi 505,149 72,623
7 Internet Radio, Inc. 485,723 189,285
8 SurferNETWORK 481,315 44,604
9 Virgin Radio 445,106 73,355
10 Radio Free Virgin 404,099 48,205

The Arbitron MeasureCast Weekly Top 25 (Jan. 6 – Jan. 12)
(Individual Internet Radio Channels)

Rank Station/Format Owner/Network/URL TTSL Cume
1 MUSICMATCH Artist Match
2 RADIOIO Eclectic
Adult Alternative
RADIOIO / LimeLight Networks
3 Virgin Radio
Hot Adult Contemporary
Virgin Radio New Media
4 JazzFM / 102.2
Guardian Media Group
5 WQXR-FM/96.3
(New York)
New York Times
CHR / Top 40
7 KPLU-FM/88.5
Pacific Lutheran University
9 KING-FM/98.1
Classic Radio Inc. Real Broadcast Networks
10 3WK Undergroundradio
Alternative Rock
Pure Rock
12 MUSICMATCH Artist On Demand
13 WXPN-FM/88.5
Adult Alternative
University of Pennsylvania / StreamGuys
14 Virgin Radio Classic Rock
Classic Rock
Virgin Radio New Media
Soft Hits
16 BlueGrass Country
American University / Warp Radio
17 ChoiceRadio Top 40
CHR/Top 40
Internet Radio, Inc.
18 MUSICMATCH Country Hits
Country Hits
19 WLTW-FM/106.7
(New York)
Soft Adult Contemporary
Clear Channel Worldwide
20 ChoiceRadio Country
Internet Radio, Inc.
21 The Tom Joyner Morning Show
News / Talk
ABC Radio Networks
22 Moontaxi Top 40
CHR/Top 40
23 ChoiceRadio New Age
New Age
Internet Radio, Inc.
24 Country Bear
Standef Broadcasting Corp / Warp Radio
25 KFI-AM/640
(Los Angeles)
Talk Radio
Clear Channel Worldwide

Major Music Retailers Announce the Formation of Echo, the Industry’s First Retailer-Driven Digital Music Consortium

Six major music retailers have teamed up to develop the “first retailer-driven digital music consortium committed to bridging the gap between brick and mortar and digital music distribution.”

More plainly, they mean they’re starting up another online distribution system to sell legal music downloads to consumers.

The new group calls itself Echo. The retail partners in Echo are Best Buy, Hastings Entertainment, Tower Records, Trans World Entertainment Corporation (FYE Stores, Planet Music, Strawberries, etc.), Virgin Entertainment Group, and Wherehouse Music. Collectively, the 6 Echo founders can boast of more than 3,000 retail locations, $20 billion in annual sales, and over 800 million customer transactions per year.

The retailers believe they can create a successful alternative to existing label-backed initiatives such as MusicNet (AOL Music, RealOne Music) and pressplay (Yahoo!, MSN Music), by building on their experience selling music to consumers, building customer relationships, marketing music and breaking new artists.

Echo’s first challenge will be to obtain competitive licenses to distribute music recordings online, especially from the big-5 major music companies. It will be interesting to see how the majors, all of them participating to some degree in each of the various existing label-backed digital music services, will respond to a new competitor in the online space.

Echo may be anticipating a tough negotiation over licenses. The launch announcement plays up the role of Alan Malasky (Porter Wright Morris & Arthur), Echo’s Washington, D.C.-based antitrust counsel: “Each retailer participant will independently market and price the digital entertainment products it offers, in the manner that will best serve its consumers. This will, for the first time, bring real competition to the digital music marketplace,” says Malasky.

This could be construed as a pre-emptive stance to defuse potential criticism of Echo on grounds of price-fixing. Or it could be construed as a veiled threat to the major music companies that they had better offer distribution licenses, or else.

Once the group gets over the licensing hurdle, the plan is for each partner to deliver a variety of digital music products and services through individually branded, or Echo co-branded offerings. The consortium says it will “build upon the in-store marketing capabilities of its retail partners to drive consumer awareness of digital music offerings, and will help drive adoption of new, advanced digital music services as they evolve.”

In Their Own Words

Scott Young, Vice President of Digital Entertainment at Best Buy: “Best Buy is focused on creating consumer-based solutions to digital entertainment services. As part of the retail consortium, we will be better able to articulate our message to consumers, to content owners and to those involved in setting standards and legislation regarding this evolving business.”

John Marmaduke, CEO of Hastings Entertainment: “The message of music retail is simple: we have always excelled at selling music to consumers, and we plan to extend our consumer relationships from the physical world into the digital world.”

Kevin Ertell, Senior VP, Online Operations at Tower Records: “For over forty years Tower Records has held a deep commitment to providing consumers with a breadth of entertainment choices. The formation of a digital retail platform reflects Tower’s continuing commitment to serving our customers.”

John Sullivan, CFO of Trans World Entertainment: “We have closely monitored the evolution of digital music in recent years and we feel that the timing is finally right for building a business around it. Moreover, we feel the Echo consortium is uniquely positioned to drive adoption and, ultimately, success.” (Trans World owns the FYE – For Your Entertainment, Coconuts, Strawberries, Specs and Planet Music brands)

Glen Ward, CEO of Virgin Entertainment Group: “Virgin has built its brand and its business on providing great value to consumers. In the digital world, we will do the same.”

Jerry Comstock, CEO of Wherehouse Music: “Retail has always been about more than simply selling CDs,” added “We are in the customer relationship business.”

Dan Hart, CEO of Echo: “The Echo consortium was established to create a viable business strategy that combines physical and digital music distribution,” says Mr. Hart. “With competitive licenses, music retailers can utilize their long history and expertise to provide a digital music experience that truly serves the consumer.”

Best Buy, Hastings, Tower, Trans World, Virgin, and Wherehouse each own equity in Echo and the retail founders collectively own a controlling majority of Echo. Echo board members will include Arnie Bernstein, former President of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, and Strauss Zelnick, former CEO of BMG Entertainment and an investor in Echo through ZelnickMedia.

Echo Web Site

Shure Ready to Ship New Beta 54 Headworn Vocal Mic

Shure’s new Beta 54 head-worn vocal mic will make its official industry debut at this year’s Winter NAMM show, opening today in Anaheim, CA. The company says the new mic is ideal for lead and backup vocals within demanding live reinforcement applications.

Prior to its Winter NAMM introduction, the Beta 54 was field-tested by a prominent group of artists and engineers from the touring and broadcast worlds. Many of the beta testers commented that its sound is comparable to that of a handheld microphone and its ambient rejection exceeds that of other competitive offerings.

“The Beta 54 is the best headset I’ve ever used,” country singer LeAnn Rimes says of her ongoing experiences with the mic. “It’s incredible sound and small size are exactly what I was looking for.”

JD DuCrest, Rimes’ monitor engineer adds, “The Beta 54 handles LeAnn’s powerful vocals very well. The sound quality is extremely transparent with a very smooth frequency response.”

Joining Rimes in the beta-testing stages of the Beta 54’s development were Kip Winger, Montgomery Gentry, Jo Dee Messina, Michelle Wright, and Tania Smith (keyboards and backing vocals for Jamie O’Neal).

The Beta 54 comes in both wireless and hard-wired configurations. It’s ultra-lightweight, engineered for comfort and durability onstage. It employs a supercardioid design which delivers premium Beta sound, superior ambient rejection, and maximum gain-before-feedback.

Operable between 20 Hz – 20 kHz, the Beta 54 additionally features a smooth response tailored expressly for vocals that is both warm and natural. Outfitted with a low-output cartridge enabling it to handle extremely high sound pressure levels (149 dB SPL maximum), the mic is offered in black or tan, and comes with a snap-fit windscreen, detachable boom mount, and flexible, fully-adjustable headband.

Shure Web Site

More Winter NAMM Coverage

OAC Group Acquires Atlantic Technology

Peter Tribeman, the president of Atlantic Technology International, one of the nation’s most respected manufacturers of home loudspeaker systems, announced the company’s acquisition here today by The OAC Group, a strategic management and consulting firm headed by Oscar A. Ciornei, principal and founder. Atlantic Technology is located in Norwood, MA, and the OAC Group is based in Portsmouth, NH.

“This acquisition presents an incredible opportunity for the expansion of Atlantic Technology into new technologies and product categories,” said Mr. Tribeman. “The OAC team and Atlantic Technology staff will combine forces to accelerate this process, and our loyal dealers will soon have access to resources that are sure to expand their business.”

Since its founding in 1989, Atlantic Technology has been organized as a closely held corporation, with Avi Shapira as Chairman, and Mr. Tribeman as President. Under the new organization, Mr. Ciornei will assume the position of CEO and Mr. Tribeman will become Chairman of the Board.

“Atlantic Technology is a company I have admired for many years,” said Mr. Ciornei. “It has a pristine reputation for quality and superb engineering, but most of all for the high value of its products. Peter Tribeman and his group have done an exceptional job at bringing the brand and its technology to the market. The OAC Group’s intention is to diversify this great name and capitalize on the ‘Technology’ name by introducing products in the audio/video connectivity category. The OAC staff, along with our consultants, is eager to integrate our ideas with Atlantic Technology’s talented team.”

From the start, Atlantic Technology has been one of the most highly regarded companies in the home theater industry. Specializing in complete high performance multi-channel speaker systems and home theater electronics components, all Atlantic Technology speaker systems are designed and engineered as integrated multichannel ensembles, and hand assembled at the company’s Norwood, MA facility. These systems are tailored and tuned to provide a seamless and startlingly realistic soundstage for multichannel music and home theater.

The OAC Group is a consortium of management and strategy consultants who help companies in the audio/video business to conceive and implement corporate strategy, and provide the key elements needed for their long-term growth. The OAC team of consultants, engineers, marketing professionals, and management advisors, provide services in the areas of product development, marketing, manufacturing, management, and operations, all geared to maximizing their clients’ market share and company value.

The OAC Group is led by Oscar Ciornei, a thirty-year veteran and recognized leader in the consumer electronics industry. He has consulted with dozens of companies and has sat on a number of boards. Ciornei was most recently responsible for building Russound from a fledgling company to one of the industry leaders in the home audio/video connectivity business. “We try to move people to a place where it makes sense to act,” said Ciornei, …Change does not have to be regimented or pedantic… this can only be accomplished through easily understood actions and senior management support.”

Atlantic Technology Web Site

RCA’s Elvis 30 #1 Hits DVD-Audio Debuts at No. 1

BMG says that the DVD-Audio version of the RCA Records remix package of Elvis Presley hits, Elvis 30 #1 Hits, made its debut on sales charts in the number 1 spot when it was released on December 10.

The CD version of the new compilation of the 30 definitive #1 singles of Elvis Presley came out on September 24, and it made history by becoming the first album ever released by Elvis Presley to debut at the top of the charts in the U.S. To date Elvis 30 #1 Hits has sold over 8 million albums worldwide.

The DVD-Audio, which was recorded in 5.1 audio for optimal sound quality, features 30 of Presley’s No. 1 singles as well as the No. 1 JXL remix of “A Little Less Conversation.” As added value for the consumer, the release also includes never before heard outtakes of Presley recordings and a special a:b test of three songs which demonstrates the before and after versions of the Presley recordings used to create the 30 #1 Hits package.

DVD-Audio takes advantage of the digital technology originally developed for DVD-Video. It uses the format’s vast data storage potential to deliver astounding multi-channel sound enriched with the nuance, warmth and subtle overtones of a live musical performance. This extensive storage space not only allows for extended-range audio, but a lineup of interactive features such as MPEG-2 video, still images, and text, which together serve to make “listening” a more active experience.

BMG is the global music division of Bertelsmann AG, one of the world’s leading media companies. BMG owns more than 200 record labels in 42 countries including Ariola, Arista Records, J Records, Jive Records, RCA Records and RCA Label Group – Nashville. In addition, BMG’s music publishing operations are the third largest in the world.