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Amazon Says, Hey, Look at Me, I’m Flying

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Amazon, the online retail behemoth, has decided to forgo that pesky thing called a music license as it launches their Amazon Cloud Drive, a “virtual” place where Amazon customers can store their digital music on Amazon’s gargantuan servers. Once stored, Amazon facilitates “streaming” of those music files to a computer or handheld device through Amazon Cloud Player.

Amazon has taken the position that they don’t need a license because their customers are only going to store and stream music that they already own. It looks like the record companies may not agree with that point of view. They’re either staying mum, or, as in the case of Sony, “reviewing their options”.

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In A Surprise Move, Radio Gained Listeners Last Year

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The “Statistical Abstract of the United States”, a weighty, riveting (that’s veiled sarcasm, its dry as dust) tome produced by the United States Census Bureau, states that the number of hours America spends with radio has fallen from 836 hours per year per person in 2003 (about 16 per week) to a projected 716 hours in 2009 per person (about 13.7 hours per week).

However, Arbitron, the media and marketing research company that tracks radio listening, among other things, released a study Monday (3/22/11) that states that listenership among people 12 years of age and older actually rose in 2010. Arbitron’s numbers say that an average of 241.6 million people in this group listened to conventional radio stations each week last year, an increase of 2.1 million over 2009.

Carol Hanley, Arbitron’s executive VP of Sales and Marketing, commented, “Radio is much stronger than the general perception of it has been”.

My response is: “Maybe”.

If you’re in charge of marketing somewhere, and you’re thinking about spending some money on radio spots, here are some things to consider:

The renewed vigor of radio listenership numbers is due in no small part to the increase in Hispanic radio stations and the Hispanic listeners that come with them. Radio added 1.1 million Hispanic listeners in the United States last year. As an industry analyst (not with Arbitron) pointed out recently, the state of Texas alone went from 25 Spanish-language stations in 2000 to 154 Spanish-language stations in 2009, and at least a few more were added in 2010, although those numbers are not yet out. That’s great if Hispanics is one of your target markets, but not so meaningful if this group is not in your target demographics.

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Rovio Mobile, Developer of Angry Birds, Gets $42 Million in Funding

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The newest overnight sensation of the digital gaming industry has now officially been crowned. Rovio Mobile, a tiny mobile gaming company out of Finland run by Niklas and Mikael Hed (cousins), has ridden their Angry Birds game to lofty marketplace success (40 million active users) and a financing round of $42 million USD, led by Accel Partners and Atomico Ventures. 

Of course, someone gets the obligatory board seat, and in this case, that someone is Niklas Zennstrom, a co-founder of Atomico Ventures, as well as another company named Skype. He is going to sit on the board of Rovio Mobile, his new investment. He also issued the even-more-obligatory statement, saying, “Angry Birds is one of the fastest-growing online products I’ve seen, growing even faster than Skype, and the company has done a brilliant job of extending it across different platforms and merchandise.” 

It’s worth noting that little Rovio put out 50 titles before they went platinum with Angry Birds, courtesy of the explosion in smart phones; now that they have a thoroughbred in their stable, they intend to ride that horse until they can breed another winner. 

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